City Council OKs College Park skate spot
Officials hope to provide safer recreational space
College Park skateboarders will soon have an area to call their own after the City Council and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission entered into an agreement to build a "skate spot" at Sunnyside Park.
The council unanimously voted to approve the agreement at its Feb. 10 meeting.
The skate spot will be built within the confines of Sunnyside Park on Rhode Island Avenue just north of Edgewood. The nearby Greenbelt skate park is 7,000 square feet. M-NCPPC also has plans to build one in Hyattsville.
Design and construction of the skate spot will be funded by a $250,000 grant secured by County Councilman Thomas E. Dernoga (D-Dist. 1) of Laurel.
The city is responsible for the design and construction of the skate spot. Once completed, it will be owned and operated by M-NCPPC.
Eileen Nivera, the M-NCPPC planner overseeing the skate spot, said it's important to provide a variety or recreational facilities for children.
"We're trying to get the kids active and outdoors," she said. "We try to attract different people. People have different interests and different skills."
Nivera was unsure the annual cost to operate the spot, but said she hopes the maintenance costs are low since it is being built in an already existing park.
Osama Abdeldayem, 18, a junior electrical engineering major at the University of Maryland, College Park, said finding a safe and fun place to skate is a constant challenge and he is excited about the new park.
"All we do every day is search for somewhere to skate," said Abdeldayem, a Laurel resident. "The cops tell us to stop and the business owners don't like it, but It's not like we do it to ruin the property or for vandalism. We do it because it's our life."
Abdeldayem said he and his friends often end up skating in their own driveways or in front of their homes.
Abdeldayem, who said he has been advocating for a skate park in Laurel for years, said it is also a public safety issue.
"As a regular skater, we don't want to be skating in a place that has a lot of people," he said. "But we'd usually end up at a place that had a few people walking around or some cars. At the skate park, we can stay away from pedestrians and traffic and be safe."
City Councilwoman Mary Cook (Dist. 4) said the skate spot was a "long time coming."
"I think it is a marvelous opportunity to give our young people another place to go," she said. "The location is pretty good considering we're limited in land space and it is in another park."
Kennis Termini, a North College Park resident on the committee in charge of designing the park, said she couldn't be happier about it.
"I have a whole bunch of skateboarders in my family," she said. "My grandson Christopher and my kids go up to University of Maryland, [College Park] and jump off the landings and the handrails because the city has not provided anything."