, Gloucester, MA

April 8, 2013

Editorial: Pitching in at city's skate park

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — The stereotype of skate boarders can be one of youthful reckless abandon. And that stereotype can be enhanced daily around Gloucester when we see skateboarders careening, illegally, down and around city streets.

But another characteristic of many skateboarders is their absolute commitment to and passion for their sport. And that passion be seen at the city’s own and only skate park adjacent to O’Maley Middle Shcool, where 21-year-old Michael Asaro and some of his fellow skaters have stepped up to help repair extensive and what can be truly dangerous conditions at their favorite local park.

Asaro and his friends recently pitched in to buy a $100 piece of iron, dragged two benches together, filled a gap with cement and fitted the metal to the edge to create one skating edge. And they’ve also carried out other repairs and projects at the site, which has become badly worn, with dangerous gaps in the cement, rusted out railings and other problems.

“Every year, we see more cracks, ramps falling apart, just damage,” says Asaro, Gloucester High graduate who began skating at the park back when he was going to O’Maley. It gets worse and worse.”

Public Works Director Mike Hale understandably notes that there is “a competition for resources citywide” — and that skate parks, with their concrete equipment prone to water and other kinds of damage, pose more maintenance hurdles than some other facilities. Yet the city should indeed be carrying out a level of periodic maintenance on this site that at least ensures it doesn’t create even more hazardous conditions for skaters whose very sport and daredevil makeup poses enough safety concerns as it is.

It’s terrific that Asaro and his friends care enough about the park to maintain and repair parts of it on their own.

It’s not so great that they have to do so.