City Streets, Sidewalks: New Turf For Skateboarders
June 30, 2010
Skateboarders are now legally able to roll along the city's streets and sidewalks.
The city council voted Monday in favor of a proposal by Councilman Luis Cotto to repeal a 33-year-old ordinance that banned skateboarding in those areas.
"At its core, this is a pretty important decision we made. [The ordinance] was singling out one group and saying that that one group can't do something," Cotto said.
Although skateboarders will now be able to use the city's streets and sidewalks, they will have to steer clear of private properties, he said.
David Rozza, who travels from West Hartford to skateboard in the city, said he was "thrilled" that the ordinance was rescinded.
"I think the city made the right decision," he said Tuesday. "It's a legitimate form of transportation, and it's another thing for people to do. It's great all around for the youth of Hartford."
Hartford police and some members of the business community, however, have said they support the Hartford skate park that sits atop the I-84 tunnel as an alternative to the streets. The park, called "Heaven" by skateboarders who frequent it and known as New Ross County Wexford Park to others, was recently made an official skate park.
A task force of business leaders, members of neighborhood groups and skateboarders is looking into the possibility of adding features to the park, including a poured-concrete bowl, urban art wall and a stage for performances.
Hartford Police Sgt. Christene Mertes said earlier this month that if the ordinance was repealed, authorities would still urge skateboarders to use the park. She could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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