By Susan Bromley
Ortonville- The Village Skate Park is for sale.
While the parcel of land is not up for grabs, the skateboard equipment that occupies the space at the corner of Cedar and Ball streets is, as confirmed by Brandon Township Recreation Director Fred Waybrant on Wednesday.
During a park subcommittee meeting on July 25, Township Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Clerk Candee Allen and Trustee Scott Brought were in agreement to advertise the skate park equipment and see what offers, if any, are received, said Waybrant.
“I was instructed to get a value on the equipment and ideas on how to market selling the equipment,” he added, noting that he will put the equipment for sale on a Michigan Parks and Recreation site. “I am posting pictures to see what we can get. Basically, we’re putting feelers out there.”
The decision stems from a lack of activity at the park.
The Skate Park opened in 2005 after Waybrant orchestrated fundraisers, donations and in-kind services for an estimated $125,000 in equipment and concrete foundation on land owned by the village at Cedar and Ball streets. The park was popular with kids for several years after it opened, but drew the wrath of neighbors frustrated by noise, vandalism, littering, profanity and alleged drug use at the facility.
Village officials responded by hiring a monitor, and incorporating a user registration fee and policy, which resolved most issues, but park usage fell and it was closed all of 2016 and part of 2015 due to a lack of registrations. It opened in May under a “session” plan formulated by Waybrant in which park users pay a registration fee of $20 to use the park on a monthly basis during designated times, but the park has been closed for June and July without enough registrations.
Township and village officials have previously discussed possibly moving the skate park equipment, owned by the township, out to the community park located at 1414 N. Hadley Road. However, Waybrant said that is not being considered due to lack of supervision at the park. He also noted interest in the sport seems to be fading and said a skate park in Waterford also recently closed.
“It’s not as trendy as it used to be,” he said. “We got seven or eight good years out of it.”
Interim Village Manager John Lyons suggested the skate park served its purpose and now “its time is done.”
“It’s causing a nuisance in the community,” he said. “Kids have been climbing over the fence and going in at night and during the day, at least two or three times per week.”
Waybrant said he was posting the equipment for sale within the next week and if the township receives an offer, the board will have to approve the sale. If no offer is received, the township could put it on the market again next spring.
Looking ahead to what the property could be used for, Waybrant suggested it might be the perfect spot for “pickleball,” a sport that is a combination of badminton and tennis and which is currently popular with senior citizens and wouldn’t require a monitor.
By Susan Bromley