BERLIN – While a permanent facility is likely still years away from reality, skateboarding enthusiasts could soon have access to temporary ramps at Berlin Falls Park.
At a meeting of the Berlin Parks Commission on Tuesday, area resident Sean McLaren volunteered to set up his skateboarding ramps at the park on a regular basis, perhaps as often as once a week. Town Administrator Laura Allen indicated a temporary set-up on a regular basis at the park could be possible.
“We just need to work out those details,” she said.
McLaren and Tres Denk of the Eastern Shore International Mountain Biking Association were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting to advocate for biking and skateboarding opportunities at the town’s new 60-acre park. The duo was behind the successful Get Ramped event held at Berlin Falls Park in the fall.
Denk, who’s built mountain biking trails in municipalities throughout the Eastern Shore, said he’d been advocating for the cause for seven years. He’s hopeful Berlin Falls Park will one day feature trails for mountain bikers as well as a skate park.
“I’m open to all options I just wanted to make sure I spoke up,” he said, adding that he had a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old and wanted them to have some place to ride.
McLaren praised the town for purchasing the large public property and said he was eager to help the town provide skateboarding opportunities there. He was willing to set up ramps there and had the necessary insurance.
“I don’t set up tables and take money,” he said. “My goal is to give a place to kids to get together … the theme is to figure out a way to get our kids back to non-clickish entertainment.”
Denk added that while he preferred mountain biking on trails, many local children had smaller bikes that they wanted to ride on ramps and over obstacles. He said that was something for town leaders to keep in mind as plans for Berlin Falls Park were created.
“One thing skate parks in our neck of the woods do not allow is bicycles,” he said, adding that youth could benefit from a facility where both were permitted. “The same location would allow these young people to cross paths and meet each other. When things are separate they tend to stay that way.”
Denk added that the trails already on the site, left behind by Jeep Week, wouldn’t take much work to be made suitable for mountain bikes.
“I have so many dads that have reached out to me that have the equipment and have the skills,” he said.
Members of the commission said they were well aware of the need for skateboarding and biking opportunities for local children.
“It sounds like there’s an appetite for it,” commission member Patricia Dufendach said.
Berlin resident Lisa Cherivtch said there was a huge group of kids that skateboarded and rode bikes in front of her house on Jefferson Street. She said that when there were too many vehicles in town they had no place to ride.
“You don’t have a place for your kids,” McLaren said, adding that the young teens, those too old for the playground who didn’t necessarily pursue organized sports, needed an option. “They need a place of their own.”
He and Denk agreed to set up a meeting with Allen to discuss the logistics of setting up temporary equipment in the park and possibly hosting another Get Ramped event.