It has been reported elsewhere that the Selectboard will do prospective skatepark site visits on Monday Aug 4th, from 5:30 to 7. They’ll be going from Elm St to Crowell, then Living Memorial Park. It was requested that skaters attend to provide input. I am unable to attend, so I’m providing my feedback here. I’ve been thinking about this—again—lately, confounded whether to shut up, or push through to the end, come what may.
It seems to me for a fully informed view, the Selectboard has the opportunity to see three skateparks, all within an hour, that show a working model of each of the current options on the table. Keene, Northampton, Fitchburg. Respectively: a steel and steely downtown park, a new concrete plaza in a green space adjacent to homes, and a varied terrain multi-featured skate facility within the town's mixed-use recreation center, also set in a residential neighborhood. But I don’t expect these visits to happen. And besides they only provide a snapshot of what goes on in the moment. Skatepark energies and usage vary like New England weather.
One thing that continues to irk me >>> metaphor police can suit up now if they’d like <<< It seems that inviting skaters to weigh in at this point is akin to asking the Native Americans to come to a meeting about the siting of a reservation. Not only has original intent been thwarted, treaties abandoned, hostilities fanned, and hopes played with, but the prospects for such vistas are daunting. Regarding at least two of those spots, the settlers have vowed retributive action, and the Cavalry is really offering no assurance of safety.
Adding to the absurdity. At the end of the process, the great white fathers (and mothers) will redistrict the land, but the tribes will have to raise their own funds in which to build and set up shop amidst such hostilities. What could go wrong? Again, like Crazy Horse and Sitting bull discovered, the choice may be no choice. However it's sliced, it doesnt feel like a holistic vision.
Maybe history can offer us an answer? If we can find an appropriately neutral spot—say somewhere near the river— and set up a ring of slot machines around the perimeter, riches will pour in many times over to pay for such a facility. It might even stand as a form of redress, however perverse.