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Town Talks Charging Fees at Skate Park

Skate park is currently losing money, officials said.

Kids looking to practice their moves at the Stotzky Park Skate Park in Riverhead may soon have to ante up a fee.

According to town recreation superintendent Ray Coyne, initially skateboarding fee had been taken out of the town's budget for park and recreation.

"But," he said, "we did a study and the skate park is losing a signficant amount of money -- close to $24,000 a year."

Although the park has been free to Riverhead residents for some time, over the past three years, Coyne said non-resident membership has dropped approximately 75 percent.

"We think kids are coming in with resident parents and getting in for free," he said.

Coyne did research on other skate parks in the area, including Greenport, Brookhaven, and Southampton Town.

Southampton, he said, charged a $30 annual fee, similar to what was charged in the past at Stotzky Park, while Greenport and Brookhaven don't charge. 

"But they don't staff their skate parks," Coyne said. "There's good and bad to that."

Coyne asked the board if they'd prefer to keep the skate park admission-free or go back to charging.

Councilman John Dunleavy asked if skate park staffers knew what streets are actually in Riverhead, and which are in Riverside and Flanders, and part of Southampton Town.

Coyne said the staff has lists; many kids have student identification from Riverhead schools or are attending with another, resident's parent.

"The revenue there is just slipping through," Councilman George Gabrielsen said.

Coyne said he and his staff recommended charging $30 per year or not manning the skate park.

The board agreed to charging a $15 annual fee for residents of Riverhead Town, and a $100 annual fee for non-residents.

Residents would pay $2 for a single session and non-residents would be charged $5 for a single session.

The board is poised to vote on the change at their next town board meeting.




Jeremy Emmerich May 15, 2013 at 02:57 PM
This is one of the most ridiculous things I've seen to be completely honest.. However "$100 non resident fee" really did make me laugh. Skateparks are losing money? Really? The only people paying to go into skateparks are little kids whom dont even have money, their parents are paying for it and they're too naive to know any better. Then make people wear full padding, let alone the fact the helmet is just ridiculous in itself. I mean, don't get me wrong I can understand helmets for people under the age of 18 as a liability, but you expect grown men to spend money on gas, then money on riding a bunch of ramps, then on top of that were supposed to suffocate ourselfs in knee pads and elbow pads (which is more dangerous in reality considering it constricts the limbs of fluent skateboarders to working differently then theyre used to, leaving it more likely for them to take a spill.). That's never going to happen. Kids, sure. At least there's logic there, but grown people whom are able to make decisions for themselves? If you need to wear full padding on anything that is not a 12 foot very ramp, I'm pretty sure your parents should be there supervising you anyway, or you should be grown enough to know you need them. Skateboarding can be done anywhere, so when you think "how can we handle the situation of losing money from the bikers and skateboarders not paying us to ride on these ramps anymore" change it to "let's start charging mothers to take their children to the park to play on the seesaw or the swing set ". I'm sorry to break it to you, but it's no different there. Maybe when you get your heads together you'll realize that a skatepark is an older kids playground. Don't employ people to sit in a booth, force people to wear padding they will not need, and expect them to pay money for it. leave the gate open with an obvious "skate at your own risk" sign, and leave skateparks how they should be. Free to the public, as a quarter pipe is no different to us as a slide is to a child in the sandbox.

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