X-gamers get early X-mas gift

By on December 3, 2014

Anxious Ephrata kids last week opened an early Christmas present.

Skateboarders enjoy  school holiday Monday.

Skateboarders enjoy school holiday Monday.

crop 3Skateboarders, bicyclists, scooter-riders, rollerbladers and others trickled onto Ephrata Borough’s nearly completed, $220,000 concrete skatepark for a test-drive.

Ephrata Borough Manager Robert Thompson said everything is completed at the park except the seeding which means the skatepark is currently surrounded by mud from recent rains.

But that didn’t stop resourceful and eager skateboarders who’ve been kicking the tires on the new track since Saturday. The skatepark is adjacent to the Ephrata Public Library.

The improvised path to the nearly completed skatepark

The improvised path to the nearly completed skatepark

The kids avoided tracking mud into the park by building a path of cardboard, two-by-fours, planks, and scraps of construction materials left over from the California-based Spohn Ranch construction team that built the park.

“Skaters started to use it before it was officially released to the public and we decided to just let them use it,” Thompson said.

Some residents who responded to the Ephrata Review’s Facebook video uploaded from activity recorded at the skatepark on Monday expressed concerns about safety specifically calling for users to wear helmets.

Right now helmets are required and officials are updating the rules established at the previous skatepark that was located at the former Teen Center behind the pool house at the Ephrata Community Pool.

That skate park was closed in 2011 as part of the pool renovation project.

“We posted the old rules from the other location and on Monday night Council will adopt revised rules,” Thompson said. “I suspect that there will be an official opening ceremony in the spring.

Penny Talbert, library director, stepped in to help keep the kids safe at the park.

“If anyone has skateboard helmets laying around and not in use, drop them off at the library and we’ll keep them around if any kids need them,” Talbert posted yesterday.

While safety is a concern for skateboarders, the chance of serious injury is more likely to occur in the street as opposed to a skatepark, according to the Skaters for Public Skateparks website.

While 30 skateboarders lost their lives due to injuries in 2012, “It is important to note that all 30 deaths occurred in a roadway. Twenty-four out of the 30 skateboards listed were struck by a vehicle,” according to the website.

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