Panolian Editorial

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 13, 2009

Long-awaited skate park becoming reality

At the Batesville City Board meeting on March 3, aldermen approved the expenditure of $5,000 to begin installation of equipment at American Legion Park to provide a safe place for Batesville’s skate boarders to practice their sport.

It’s been two and a half years since a group of youngsters put this process in motion by presenting the board with a petition they’d circulated to substantiate the public’s interest in establishing a skate park. These kids put their efforts and time into supporting the project, and, with the help of adult volunteers, raised $5,000 which will be combined with the city’s initial expenditure to place rails, ramps and other equipment used in the sport.

In a February board meeting, a Downtown Action Plan was presented. A component of that proposal was identifying Downtown Batesville as a place to “Live-Work-Play-Shop-Dine-Worship.”

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“Play” is the operative word here.

American Legion Park is located within a short walking distance of the Square, and the addition of skate park facilities would enhance the amenities already located there. The park is home to American Legion baseball field, picnic tables, playground equipment and tennis courts. Currently the existing facilities could use some sprucing-up, but the area has potential to be a valuable asset to the community as the economic downturn causes more people to seek entertainment and recreation close to home.

Concerns have been expressed about the consequences of increased use of the park and the effect on the adjoining neighborhood.  But the truth is generations have played ball at American Legion Park each spring and summer and there’s been no public outcry to close it.

A weathered sign in the park indicates that it opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 10 p.m. Enforcement of that rule (and others already posted at the park) by parents and Batesville Police could ensure that those who enjoy the park are considerate of the neighbors.