Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic occasionally writes posts to elicit intelligent reader responses which he calls “Talk to Me Like I’m Stupid.”
Let’s assume I’m already stupid – we’re starting an occasional series called “Talk Me Off The Ledge.”
There will be a hearing tomorrow night (Wednesday, January 18) at 6:30 pm at the Tatnuck Post of the American Legion (570 Mill Street) to talk about a proposed skate park at Logan Field.
I believe the impetus for the skate park is that there are kids who skateboard in and around Tatnuck Square and various people don’t like that. So the inclination is that — since we still ostensibly have freedom of assembly — we should provide the kids a place to skate instead of the Tatnuck Plaza.
So, there are at least two competing constituents here: the residents of Tatnuck and their children. (Let’s ignore for the moment that folks besides those who live in Tatnuck actually use Logan Field.)
Questions for the Tatnuck area adults:
1. Green Hill Park already has a skate park. I’m under the impression that there is a lot of graffiti at that park. Would you like to drive by a graffiti-filled skate park every day? Who do you think should clean the graffiti? (Correct answer: not Nicole.)
2. Green Hill Park already has a skate park. Has anyone asked why the kids from Tatnuck aren’t going there? Is it an issue of a lack of rides? Or is the park not good enough for them to take time on the bus to go to? (And if it’s the latter, then why would allocating a small portion of Logan Field be good enough to go to?)
Questions the potential constituents of a skate park need to ask at this meeting:
1. The city has money that can be used for this skate park. Will regular maintenance of the park be budgeted in years to come? With the city continuing to try to “do more with less” in parks, how long before the skate park becomes neglected?
2. When graffiti comes — and it will — to a skate park, will the users of the skate park be blamed? Would anyone anticipate any consequences?
3. Is the city going to be able to build a skate park that will be sufficiently challenging and interesting to skaters while limiting the city’s liability? Will the footprint of this skate park be sufficient for maintaining that kind of interest? (And — if as I suspect it is not — then why should it be at Logan Field?)
4. Who will be building the skate park?
5. Isn’t part of the joy in skateboarding the ability to get away from one’s parents? Where exactly is the sport in skating a block away from home?
Any other thoughts, dear readers?