To the editor:
How can we call ourselves a collective, concerned community when it comes to our youth when we demolish their park, but we continually enhance one for canine “citizens?” Don’t get me wrong, I am an avid animal lover. The dog park refers to its population as citizens, but our teens with skateboards are considered a nuisance? Per the dog park website, it states that the dog park is there for the canine citizens to create a “clean, safe environment where they can exercise without endangering or annoying people, property and wildlife.”
This dog park is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization, in other words, it is self-supporting through sponsors and volunteers. They raised $13,603 through public donations alone in 2010 and posted an expense budget of $12,178 in 2010. They charge admissions through their paw passes and have electronic gates for access. They hold contests and events. They also offer calendars and other promotions.
I am confused by this effort put forth for these Ocean City citizens compared to the effort put forth for our skateboarding teens, who are only referred to as being less than citizens and are labeled as a nuisance!
Meanwhile, the canine park is continually being enhanced as the city demolished our youths skateboard park. Then it starts, “mayhem!” What was expected of our teens? Did they expect them to just turn and throw away their boards and give up on their sport? The city did not even give the children a second thought, did not even give them a temporary place to go! Didn’t give them an alternative solution. The city just turned their backs on our youths. Would the city also take away a football player’s ball and expect him to just sit in the middle of the field? Would the city take away the basketball hoop from a basketball player? Would the city fill in all the golf holes in the golf course? I mean, for real, what did the officials expect our children to do? What did they really think was going to happen?
They couldn’t have thought for a second that the boarders wouldn’t take it to the street and now you berate and harass them. They mean no harm, they just want to do what is their passion: skating. If their boards had seats there would be no problems.
They are however teens, it is our duty as adults and as a collective community to guide them. Let us at least guide them in the right direction instead of ridicule and punishing them for the city’s decision to demolish their park, but to act together as a concerned, collective community and as elected officials (and be forewarned they will grow up to vote soon) we should want our children off the streets in a safe healthy environment getting exercise and nurturing their passions! We need to guide them so that they, too, should be considered citizens in our city and community.
Help our youth for they will soon be our tomorrow. Keep them safe and healthy!
Published in the Ocean City Gazette (4/13/12)
Bring Back the Skateboard Park
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