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Residents approach Price council with graffiti, skate park concerns

Sun Advocate reporter

Several youth practice skateboarding moves at the park in northeast Price. Local freestyle bikers are petitioning the Price City Council to allow bikes on the skateboarding park. The suggestion introduced by the group will be researched by Price officials and revisited by the council at the next regularly scheduled council meeting.

Concerns about graffiti and the local skateboard park brought several citizens before the Price City Council to discuss possible options.

Price resident Lisa Sweeten indicated that, after six years of living in the area, she had concerns about graffiti on the Southeast Plumbing building.

"Moving from California, my family and myself are used to these markings," pointed out Sweeten. "I ask that we start to stop this gang activity before it begins."

Sweeten asked the city to be extremely proactive in dealing with graffiti and have it removed within 24 hours.

Mayor Joe Piccolo said the city was aware of the graffiti and usually had youth in detention or at risk youth help with its removal.

The mayor considered the traditional approach as a way to send a double message.

Piccolo also pointed out that graffiti had been in the area before.

"So that you know, it's not new to this community," noted the Price mayor.

City residents with reports of graffiti should contact Price Police Chief Aleck Shilaos.

Introducing an unrelated matter to the mayor and city council, several youth biking enthusiasts are petitioning to have the skateboard park rules modified to include bikes.

"Our skate park is one of the only one's in Utah that I know of that does not allow bikes," commented Ben Kilbourne, who was speaking on behalf of the petitioning youth.

The council reminded Kilbourne that the BMX track would accommodate bikes.

However, Kilbourne said the BMX track did not offer a solution for the group's particular type of riding.

"It's a totally different thing, racing and what some people call freestyle," said the youth.

The group was not looking to take time from the skaters, added Kilbourne.

The youth said a solution could be allowing the bikes on the skate park for limited days and fining the riders who use pegs.

Councilmember Jeanne McEvoy said she had driven by the park several times prior to meeting with the petitioning youth.

The councilwoman indicated that, the majority of the time, she saw no one in the park.

"I feel like it's an excellent facility that's not being utilized enough," stated McEvoy. "I think there should be some kind of compromise. It's time to get the rate of use up higher."

Piccolo asked for a list of parks in the state that allowed skateboards and bikes so that he could investigate how they operated.

Several council members agreed that the safety issue of having bikes and skateboards on the track at the same time had to be explored.

Piccolo also asked whether the group had a plan and contact person if the new addition caused problems.

"I think the less formalized government you have, the better," Piccolo noted. "Can this run itself?"

Kilbourne said opening the skate park to bikes would be a learning process for everyone, but that things would be fine once each group learned the other's riding patterns.

Shilaos voiced objections about adding the bikers. The police chief indicated that adding the bikes would be a safety risk and the BMX track was designed for both racers and freestylers.

The issue will be addressed again at the next council meeting after several matters have been researched.

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