The North Elba town skatepark.
North Elba Town Board members Tuesday, Sept. 11 decided to begin the process of giving its skateboard park equipment to the village of Saranac Lake.
The equipment — which is currently located next to the Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid — would be used at the skateboard park in Saranac Lake, located in the village parking lot next to the police department.
“It makes sense,” Councilman Bob Miller said about the gift to Saranac Lake.
Miller said he visited the park in Saranac Lake before the meeting at the North Elba Town House and saw about 20 kids using the equipment there.
In an effort spearheaded by Miller, Town Board members tried to keep the skatepark equipment in Lake Placid, as that was the original intent when it was built. However, the Lake Placid Central School District — which owns the property where the skatepark is located — required that the equipment be surrounded by fencing because of liability issues.
Although the town had paid a manager to open the park in the summer a couple of years ago, there was little use. So, instead of keeping the equipment and having nobody use it, Town Board members decided it would be good to give it away to a community where it will be used.
“I really think this is a good solution,” Miller said.
Attempts to come up with alternative solutions to keep the equipment in Lake Placid failed. The town offered it to the village, the school, the youth center and the Olympic Regional Development Authority. Nobody wanted it.
“I personally think we’ve gone out of our way to resolve this problem,” said Town Supervisor Roby Politi.
The decision was unanimous.
“I’m going to disappointedly vote yes,” Politi said.
Even after being rejected by the village, school and ORDA, Town Board members worked over the summer months to keep the equipment in Lake Placid upon the request of one of the financial backers, Dan Leff, who donated $35,000 for the project. Former Town Supervisor Shirley Seney had also secured $100,000 for the skatepark. Leff and his son, Brian, designed it. They were both at the June 12 Town Board meeting along with park builder Pat Ledger, asking for a little more time before giving the equipment away
Miller, however, said he never received any alternative suggestions from Leff.
“At some point, we have to fish or cut bait,” Miller said.
The town would give the equipment to the village of Saranac Lake, rather than the Saranac Lake Skatepark Committee.
On May 29, Saranac Lake Village Board members approved preparations for the skatepark area next to the police station, using village materials and manpower. The prep work will entail:
•excavating the section of the hill adjoining the parking lot to allow for the expansion of the plat level area;
•building a retaining wall to secure the hillside;
•digging a trench around the area to provide adequate drainage;
•transporting gravel from the sand pit and progressively build up a tamped down gravel under-base for the concrete pad;
•and preparing the site to be build-ready for the pouring of the concrete pad for the installation of the skateboard ramps and features.
Yet not every Village Board member was ready to make the in-kind donation. Trustee Tom Catillaz, who is running for Harrietstown supervisor this fall against Town Councilman Bob Bevilacqua, voted against the resolution, saying, “This is a fad that I think is gone, and I think this thing ought to be forgotten about.”
The measure passed 3-1.