9/16/2014

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Sunnyside looking at skateboarding park plans

Sunnyside looking at skateboarding park plans
SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- Skateboarders are often seen as the black sheep of street sports. Now ,they're getting heat from people in Sunnyside. They're upset skaters don't use the skate park built for them and worry skating at traditional parks is dangerous.

A hobby, a passion, and a way to stay out of trouble.

"When I was younger, it kept me off the streets," said Jose.

Skaters said they've been using Central Park for years without problems. They prefer to come here because they say it takes too long to get to Sunnyview Skate Park. But skateboarding was banned from Central Park all summer. It's just been recently allowed again.

This worries people like Rita Garcia. She's afraid skaters could run into her grandkids. Her own grandson got hurt on a skateboard.

"He got like a big bruise all over his chest and he had a black eye,” said Rita. “His eye got bloody."

But Sunnyside's city manager doesn't see the problem. He hasn't seen any skaters causing trouble in Central Park and there's no law banning skateboarding in Sunnyside parks.

Skaters would rather perform tricks here because the park designed for them is on the outskirts of town.

KIMA drove to Sunnyview Skate Park from Central Park and it took around 12 minutes by car. Skateboarders told KIMA it takes them about 40 minutes to skate here from downtown Sunnyside. A big reason why they don't use it.

"By the time we get there, we're exhausted, it's hot and we don't even feel like skating by the time we get there," said Arnoldo Zepeda.

City leaders are looking to either move Sunnyview skate park, or build another skate park closer to downtown. The city would have to find a way to pay for it.

"This town is known for its gang relations,” said Melissa Miller. “The whole lower valley is, so why not give them something that's productive?"

The ban on skaters in Central Park was lifted a couple of weeks ago. Public Works owns the park and implemented the ban. Skateboarders are still not allowed in the business district of Sunnyside.
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