Tivoli residents split over skate board ramp

A passionate public turned out in Tivoli for a planning board public hearing June 23 on a proposed skateboard ramp for Memorial Park.

The ramp, to be located in the grassy area behind the baseball field fence, drew a mix of applause and concern from the public speakers.

Many of the 25 to 30 attendees at the meeting own homes near the site, and they were concerned about increased noise levels if the skateboard ramp is added there.

Others, however, were in favor of the ramp, including Boy Scout and honor society member Jack Marcotte, who assured the crowd, “I think it’s a great idea, and I would respect the neighbors and the village.”

Bard College sponsored the building of the ramp, which is a half pipe, by students in 2011. When liability concerns became an issue, they removed it last year and offered it to Tivoli.

Village Trustee Robin Bruno, who has spearheaded the project, noted, “Skateboarding is already a prevalent sport in our village. It requires discipline, keeps kids active, and provides positive youth camaraderie.”

She also stressed the safety aspect of the ramp. “If skaters create their own ramps out of picnic tables or whatever’s handy, it’s dangerous. If the equipment is built for that purpose, it’s safer,” she said.

Neighbors spoke of their concerns about noise, liability and the need to enforce the park’s dusk closing time.

“There are going to be all kinds of kids coming to our village. They may not respect Tivoli like our kids,” resident Karen Cleveland said.

Echoing the concerns of other residents, Jeremy Hall noted that it’s not the existence of the ramp he and his wife are necessarily against, but its location, which they believe is too close to residential areas. “We’re not saying it shouldn’t happen–the concern is the location,” Hall said.

Bruno responded that several other locations had been considered, but dismissed as too close to traffic or too likely to flood during heavy rains.

Several Tivoli teens and Bard students spoke in favor of the ramp. Bard junior Alana Silver stressed that “the park is meant for public use and access. It’s a place to bring the community together.”

Two members of the Bard skateboarding club, Michael Ipsen and recent skateboarding club president Adam Skinner, talked about the benefits of kids teaching kids, the camaraderie of the sport, and skateboard etiquette.

The board listened to all sides, then closed the public hearing, saying they will continue to deliberate at their July 14 workshop. **Editor’s note: This workshop was subsequently changed to July 21 at 7pm at village hall.**

Correction: This story was updated to reflect that the original date for the planning board workshop was July 14, not July 7 as printed in our July 2 edition.

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