For years, local skateboard enthusiasts have enjoyed the skate park provided to them by the Crook County Parks and Recreation District.

At the same time, they made it known that they would like to see the park expanded and improved upon as it doesn’t quite measure up to facilities in other neighboring communities.

Meanwhile, other sports interest groups and parks and recreation leaders have supported the building of new facilities such as a bike park or a full-scale sports complex. In addition, two attempts have been made to build a new pool in the community, both of which have failed.

While we understand the intent behind these projects, we think that a skate park upgrade should moved to the front of the line. Why? Consider the response of its patrons this past week when some unknown vandals covered their facility in graffiti.

The young men and women who use the skate park did not shrug it off and plan to continue using the facility as if nothing happened. They were offended by the vandalism and took it as an attack on a place that they consider a second home. Furthermore, when Parks and Recreation staff decided to paint over the graffiti, these kids volunteered to help complete the task. Furthermore, they have already volunteered to help parks staff repair the asphalt at a later date.

This is not just kids taking advantage of a park. This is pride of ownership. We feel that such actions should be taken into account when local leaders look for new ways to improve their community. These kids should be rewarded.

Yes, the sports complex could be a substantial economic driver in the community, and a bike park would increase what the local parks district has to offer. We are not saying that these projects should be dropped — but they should wait in line, so that the skate park patrons, who clearly care about their park and its future.

Skateboard enthusiasts want a bigger and better local park. We feel that they have earned that privilege. Hopefully city and parks leaders will look at their actions and reach the same conclusion. For now, the other projects can wait.

Contract Publishing

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