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Riverhead Town closes skate park — again — following vandalism

Riverhead skatepark

Riverhead’s skate park at Stotzky Park is closed again after repeated incidents of vandalism took place during repair work, according to town parks and recreation superintendent Ray Coyne.

During the Town Board’s work session Thursday, Mr. Coyne requested that security cameras be installed at the skatepark, as well as the East Creek docking facility in South Jamesport, where some thefts have been reported.

“The kids just cut open a portion of the fence at the skate park,” Mr. Coyne said. “So, I shut it down again. They kept going on the ramps that we are having fixed. We asked them not to — and we roped it off so they couldn’t get in — and they cut the rope.”

Town Board members agreed to look into the possibility of installing security cameras at the park, although Supervisor Sean Walter said he suspects it will cost more than the $500 estimate Mr. Coyne received.

The town closed the skate park for more than a year while it repaired some of its damaged and dilapidated boards. Recently, half the park that had been repaired was reopened to the public, while the other half remained closed for repairs, he said.

The town spent more than $60,000 to repair 73 of the boards on the upper tier of the skate park.  The remaining 64 damaged boards located on the lower-tier portion of the park remained closed since the town doesn’t have enough money to fix the entire park, which officials say will cost an additional $70,000.

Mr. Coyne added that the town doesn’t charge an admission fee to enter the park and that most visitors aren’t town residents.

“There were more kids on the bad ramps than on the good ramps the other day when I went by,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said. “If they want to ruin it, shut it down.”

Mr. Coyne said he plans to reopen the skate park after the damaged boards are removed.

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Photo credit: Tim Gannon