In Byram, in-line skates are out, skateboarders in

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    BYRAM-Skateboarders in Byram will soon have their own designated space in the C.O. Johnson Municipal Park. The town council this week approved a reallocation of funds originally earmarked for an in-line skate arena. Research conducted by the town's Recreation Commission indicated that an in-line skate arena would not be the best use of the money. "We contacted Green and other municipalities who have in-line hockey rinks," said Councilman Earl Riley. "They said the rinks don't ever have anyone using them." Some $140,000 had been put aside to build the in-line skate arena, as part of the overall $1.2 million dollar package of improvements currently underway at C. O. Johnson Municipal Park. Those dollars will now go to build a skateboard park roughly two-thirds the size of the originally planned skate rink. The space will include ramps and jumps but there will not be any half-pipes installed because of high maintenance and liability costs. In fact, the aspect of liability is one town officials considered seriously. "There are very real concerns about installing this type of equipment," said Town Manager Greg Poff. "But there are pages and pages of regulations to follow to insure we are covered from a liability standpoint." Those regulations include posting signs stipulating those using the park do so at their own risk, spelling out the need for skateboarders to wear helmets and making sure the park is fenced in to prevent use during hours when the park is technically closed, after dusk or before dawn. Council members expressed confidence that those using the park will help police it. "In Sparta the kids there have a real respect for the rules," said Councilwoman Donna Griff. "They make sure they all have their helmets and the Sparta Police come around to watch too." The area designated for the skateboard park has already been cleared and leveled. The asphalt could be laid as soon as September with the equipment installed soon thereafter. "At the very latest," said Riley, "it will be completed by the end of the year."