Teenager asking city to invest $50,000 in skateboard park

Parker Hayes, 18, of Hartsville addressed Hartsville City Council Tuesday night.

He presented a proposal for a $50,000 skateboard park to be built at Byerly Park on 14th Street.

He's been skating for 12 years and says the city needs to invest in skateboarders.

"There's no safe place to skate. Skaters are just like any other sport. You want a safe, close to home place to practice the sport you love without anyone harrassing you," said Hayes.

Skateboarding is not allowed in downtown Hartsville, on sidewalks, streets or in four of the city's parks, according to city leaders.

They say you can skateboard at Byerly Park, but only on the walking trail and you can't bring ramps or rails.

Parker says he and his skateboarding buddies have resorted to building makeshift skateboard parks in their backyards, but he says it's not safe because they build their own ramps and rails.

"It's pretty dangerous because none of us are architects. You build a homemade quarter pipe and two are three hard hits and it's crumbled. I know I've scraped a few parts of my body on homemade half pipe."

Some residents say Parker's idea for skateboard park in Hartsville is a good idea and they believe it could help lower teen crime.

"I think it will be fabulous. Children need some activity. They need something to keep them out of trouble. And that will be the best thing," said Linda Wilkens.

"I see a lot of kids that love to skateboard, but there is no place around here in Hartsville for them to do it. And we need more places like this for our children to go and to have something good to participate in. I feel that is the reason why so many of them just get into so much trouble," explained Mary Phillips.

Hartsville City Council asked Hayes to meet with City's Parks Committee Chairperson about the skateboarding park. They could revisit Hayes' request at next month's meeting.

He's hoping they will find the money to invest in his dream for a place for all skateboarders in Hartsville.

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