Taneytown skateboard site sought Youths take case to City Council


Armed with a petition signed by 300 supporters, five Taneytown skateboarders appealed to the City Council last night to help them find a place to let their good times roll.

Daniel Harmon, 15, and Joe Dougherty, 15, presented the petition and a proposal for creating an area where skaters would be able to ride uninterrupted by traffic, police or irate adults.

"We're willing to do just about anything to get this," Daniel said.

The two youths presented ideas for raising money for the project, and proposed sites and a description of the benefits of having a skateboarding site in Taneytown.

One of their ideas was having the town convert the lower tennis courts at Francis Scott Key High School into a skateboard park. The school is planning to put in new courts.

The boys said they became concerned about the decreasing number of places for them to skateboard in town when signs prohibiting skateboarding appeared in the parking lot at Northwest Middle School, one of the most popular skateboarding sites.

Daniel and three supporters -- Spencer Yelton, 14, David Hess, 16, and Brian Sanders, 15 -- attended last month's City Council meeting to learn how to present their case to the city government. The boys met later with Councilman Henry C. Heine Jr., who encouraged them to seek support from residents and civic organizations.

With the councilman's help, they compiled the two-page proposal they presented last night.

Council members said they were impressed by the boys' presentation but also said they were concerned with the issue of liability for accidents.

Councilman James L. McCarron said he agreed with the boys' contention that there is possible danger in any activity.

"I'm with them on this," Mr. McCarron said. "I don't know if that's any more dangerous than swimming or playing baseball."

Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr. said the council would investigate the insurance issue and contact the boys before the next meetings.

In other business last night, resident Gail Ansari complained about a continuing problem with starlings that have been roosting in the woods in her Carnival Drive neighborhood all summer.

"The sky is black with birds," Ms. Ansari said, calling the starlings a health hazard. "If we can't kill them, we'll have to drive them away from the area."

The council agreed to look into the matter and requested a report from a county health inspector.

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