Council Tabs Former Walsh Pool Area for Skate Park
Council agreed Tuesday to proceed with relocating the borough's modular skate park to the Walsh Pool area on Harristown Road by the Dobrow Sports Complex.
With only a few weeks remaining for the borough to formalize the relocation of its modular skate park or risk losing county open space grant funding for the project, council has selected the former Walsh Pool as the skate park's new destination.
"We, as a council, made a commitment that we would do this," Deputy Mayor Ed Trawinski said Tuesday. "And I think it’s something that we need to try here, do our best to enforce our rules and regulations and give it a shot. I can’t think of a better location in Fair Lawn -- if we’re going to put it anywhere -- that we could put it."
Last June, the borough opened the Warren Point Annex Skate Park at a converted tennis court on 30th Street and Pellack Drive, but the set up lasted less than a month before being disassembled as a result of resident complaints.
Trawinski said the new proposed location -- on Harristown Road adjacent to the Dobrow Sports Complex -- should be more palatable to residents.
"There’s no residents affected by this," he said. "It’s proximate to the Dobrow Complex, but the Dobrow Complex is first and foremost a recreation complex."
Deputy Mayor John Cosgrove, the only council member who opposed the relocation, said he had spoken to residents and organizations that used the Dobrow Complex regularly and found strong opposition to the skate park.
"If you had a skate park that was somewhere for 30 days and they pulled it out and they want to build it in your neighborhood, what would you think?" Cosgrove said. "People say, 'You’re giving us the problem that you had on the other side of town and you’re moving it to our side of town.'"
While Cosgrove said he applauded the concept and would love to see kids have a place to skateboard legally in Fair Lawn, he didn't believe there was any location in town where residents would accept a skate park.
Trawinski responded that he felt obligated to honor the commitment the previous council had made to provide resident skateboarders a spot of their own.
"What do you tell those kids? Where are they supposed to go?" asked Trawinski, referring to the children who, after being chased out of the CVS parking lot by police, had approached council looking for a legal place to skate. "We bend over backwards through an organized sports program to provide activities for all kinds of organized sports, but we don’t do it for kids like that who ask for it. And they’re entitled to as much ability to use borough and borough facilities as those who participate in organized sports."
The borough, which already has spent $35,000 on the park and its equipment -- pieces of which are currently in storage -- is prepared to spend an additional $25,000 to fill Walsh Pool, surface the new skate park and enclose it with fencing.
Borough manager Tom Metzler said he was cautiously optimistic that the $15,000 filling costs could be mitigated if the borough can obtain certified clean fill from another construction project, bringing the total relocation price tag to about $10,000.
Once the project is completed -- Metzler estimated it would be another year before the skate park is ready for use -- the borough will receive a $35,000 reimbursement from the county.