More public comment takes place on skate park

Albert Lea Skate Park

ALBERT LEA, Minn. — It is a small chunk of land that sits on the shoreline of Fountain Lake in Albert Lea and lately there has been some controversy surrounding it.

Some city residents have said that the skate park is making too much noise for where it is at and is the source of some graffiti, so it is time to move it. Some do not think that is the solution.

“I know there’s good kids out there that love the sport, I was one of them when I was younger. We built our own skateboards when I was younger, but we respected other people’s property,” said David Karge of Albert Lea.

While some are for moving the park to solve the problem, he said you are just moving the problem with it.

“Let’s take care of the problems right where it’s at. It’s a nice recreation area. If they’re having some disrespect problems with the neighbors there, let the police handle it,” Karge said.

This is the second public forum on the park. One was also held in November. There has also been a petition with nearly 30 signatures to keep it right where it is at.

“At this point I think we really want to hear more from the public, we really want to get this one right. There’s really not a right or wrong answer, for everybody there are concerns and we all realize that, so we really want to take due diligence to make sure that we’re really understanding the issues and moving ahead with a good solution,” said Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen.

So the city has come up with some recommended changes.

They would like to install additional security lights in the parking lot and skate park, remove park hour signs and only display the skate park hours along with a no trespassing sign. They would also recommend active policing, and also hold a skate park kickoff each summer to go over hours, rules and enforcement.

After hearing what the public thought of them, they are going to look into them further.

“I don’t think we’re really rushed to make a decision on this. We’re really going to take our time, we’ve got some time because of the weather, it’s really not a popular place to be right now, so I think we’ll take our time over the next probably month to make a decision,” Rasmussen said.

Those like Karge think it is a step in the right direction.

“If they’re made to abide by the rules down there and if they don’t, we’ll close it for a certain period of time and they’ll realize that this thing could go away,” Karge said.

Rasmussen said that the council should have a decision on the park’s future by spring.

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