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Council declines to vote on proposed skate park


Taneytown skateboarders must wait another month to find out whether they will get a place of their own in town.

The City Council declined to vote on the issue of building a town skate park last night after a lengthy discussion on liability and supervision issues. Councilman Henry C. Heine Jr. said the city should give the project a try.

"I would be in favor of a type of pilot program with minor investment, which would be perfect right up there," Mr. Heine said of a recently paved area near the playground and ball fields on George Street.

Mr. Heine said he saw no difference between the city's current law, which allows skating on certain streets, and the city allowing the playground parking lot to be used by skateboarders.

But City Attorney Thomas F. Stansfield said the city would be liable for permanent injuries sustained by children using such a park, because the city's insurance will not cover the sport.

Joe Dougherty, David Hess, Daniel Harmon and Brian Sanders resumed their roles as leaders in the skate park crusade, bringing with them David's sister Jennifer, skater Joe Purdy and his father for support.

Brian suggested that the city could display warning signs, as the local Jaycees did for their Haunted Barn in October. The signs warned guests that the proprietors would not be responsible for "injuries or fatalities." But Mayor Henry I. Reindollar Jr. and Mr. Stansfield said the signs had no legal power.

The elder Joe Purdy said the skaters have caused no problems for him as they skate in his driveway.

After the skateboard contingent left the council chamber, Councilman Thomas J. Denike said the council should look into the liability issue, but should not dismiss the importance of supervision.

He reminded the council that Frederick Alderman Jon F. Kreissig, who spoke to the council last week, said his city's skate park failed because vandals wrecked the unsupervised facility.

In other business, the City Council rejected an ordinance to increase the surety requirements on use and occupancy permits from 110 percent to 200 percent of the total estimated cost of finishing a project.

Resident Richard Feeser opposed the ordinance, which he said would cost too much for people who wanted to build homes just for themselves.

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