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Skateboarding Results in Real Costs to Red Bank

Damage to public parks caused by skateboarding costs tens of thousands of dollars, public officials say.

Red Bank's anti-skateboarding ordinances exists for a reason, officials say. And, like most things, that reason is money.

According to Gary Watson, director of the borough's public works department, Red Bank spent upwards of $30,000 last year making repairs to public property damaged by skateboards and skateboarding.

The issue isn't really riding skateboards, its the damage they cause, especially in parks. When skateboarders grind on railings or other stone surfaces they not only leave behind traces of black board wax - a wax used to make grinding smoother - but they often break off pieces of brick or concrete on the surfaces they grind. The damage is unsightly and can be dangerous.

When things break, Watson said, public works has to replace them.

The issue gained a bit of attention earlier this month when for skateboarding offenses. , a popular skateboarding destination because of its wide array of railings and short surfaces, is located on West Front Street.

Red Bank Police Chief Stephen McCarthy said police aren't looking to arrest people for skateboarding, though local ordinances prohibit the practice essentially everywhere that isn't your private property. If someone is using a skateboard as a means of transportation and is not bothering pedestrians, police often look the other way. If a patrol comes across a group of kids performing tricks, police will ask them to move along, often several times if they have to, before resorting to any official police action.

Watson said the borough considered a skateboarding park several years ago but that nothing resulted from what were mostly preliminary discussions. The problem with a skatepark is that you need somewhere to put it, it's cost prohibitive, and skateboarders often just aren't interested enough. When it comes to boarding, Watson said, the culture dictates using the entire town as your park.

Despite the large price tag for skateboarding-related damage repairs, there's no indication that enforcement will be stepped up. For now, it looks as though Red Bank will simply have to eat the cost.

Gilda Rogers April 25, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Although purse strings are tight this is a cost that should just be absorbed. These kids are not committing crimes or harming anyone. It would cost a helluva lot more if they were being real juvenile offenders . . . If you get my drift. This is spilled milk that just needs to be cleaned up. Peace. Gilda Rogers
rbresident April 26, 2012 at 12:05 AM
30 grand is no spilled milk....
RB Cat April 26, 2012 at 02:10 PM
I find skateboarders to be a bit problem in Red Bank. I can't walk my dog near the parks anymore because he is afraid of the loud sounds the boards make against the pavement and if you live close enough to a favorite boarding spot the sound of the boards will drive you (and your pets) crazy at home too. Not to mention the fact that these boarders are often performing dangerous stunts on private property making the property owners very nervous about liabilities. When and if you ask them to stop or move on they usually call you names and curse at you, so you have to call the cops, which is another waste of town resources. Wouldn't be better to stop the boarding for a bit and invest the 30 grand into building that skate park we use to hear about?
Col. Korn April 26, 2012 at 02:27 PM
My Dear Comrades, "Red Bank spent upwards of $30,000 last year making repairs to public property damaged by skateboards and skateboarding." (Smirk).....(Chuckle).....Now Hold on My Dear Watson, Do you think we were born yesterday? I absolutely question the 30 grand figure. Sounds like padding to me. Maybe it cost them 30.000 to maintain the entire park system in Red Bank (all tolled with non skateboard induced repair, maintenance, storm repair and vandalism by other reasons like the drunks and crack-heads that are always there) and they are just trying to off it on the skateboarders. " Watson said, the culture dictates using the entire town as your park." Watson is not a Skateboarder and does not speak for them and who the hell is he to say what the skateboard culture is about! He and the others are so out of touch with it, they might as well be talking about the possibility of life on Mars being offended by a fart in a space suit! Chief McCarthy is probably right when he says that most of the time his officers look the other way but they shouldn't have to (!) Skateboarders should have the same rights under the law as others such as bicyclers and if they damage property they should be responsible for that damage just as a bicycler is. AMEN! Your Obt. Svt. Col. Korn, Chief O' Mayhem in the Great WW-2 (And the Cold War) Now Chief O' Security, Sanitation and the Complaint Dept. OXOjamm Studios.
rbresident May 04, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Building a skate park would be doing something good for the town which is against red banks goals. It's all about sandwiching more and more restaurants and pointless stores that last 6 months into town.

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