Plans afoot for Rumford skate park

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RUMFORD – Plans are in the works to build a full skateboard park in town once enough money can be raised. Until then, Parks and Recreation Director Tim Gallant told selectmen at Thursday night’s meeting that a basic park could be established on one of the department’s four basketball courts.

“A lot of adults have asked for it,” Gallant said. “There is a big desire in this area for a skateboard park. The problem, however, is we have a budget that is set up to fix things, not to get things.”

As a temporary solution, Gallant said that by using department reserve money he could put three or four skateboarding features he identified as stations on the court for boarders to use.

A basic park with six stations would cost $28,000. The stations are modeled after town street features like benches and fire hydrants.

If use grows, Gallant said he would look into putting in a more expansive park, excavating ground and erecting concrete walls.

Chairman Greg Buccina said he had received several signatures of grade-school children who want a skateboard park in town.

When asked by a selectman about liability issues, Gallant said, “If they don’t follow the rules, we’re not liable.”

Like Buccina, resident Kevin Saisi liked the idea. “I’m glad to see all of it keeping with the comprehensive plan and actually making progress to fulfilling the plan that people approved,” Saisi said.

Another resident, Jennifer Stowell Norris, publicly thanked Gallant for proposing the idea “and keeping the kids’ interest in mind.”

Gallant said he would gather more information and return to a subsequent meeting to keep selectmen abreast of plans.

In other business, Gallant also said he would like to selectively thin some trees and shrubbery blocking street view of the Hosmer Park complex of athletic fields.

“I just want to remove half of them. I’m not trying to make it bare, I just want people to realize what’s here,” he said.

Selectman Arthur Boivin asked for a clarification on how many trees would be removed from Lincoln Avenue.

“As I remember, the last time they were thinned down, people got very upset,” Boivin said.

“The last time, all the trees were taken out,” Gallant answered.

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