Friday, April 16, 2004

Anderson adds places to have fun

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Garey Faulkner of Amelia, 20, rides his bike this week in a deep bowl at the new skate park at Beech Acres Park in Anderson Twp.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/CRAIG RUTTLE
ANDERSON TWP. - Just in time for warmer weather, new recreation amenities are blossoming in this eastern Hamilton County community.

The township's skate park opened earlier this month at Beech Acres Park, and trustees are expected soon to sign off on contracts for new sidewalks in the southwestern portion of the township.

The new skate park will be 24,000 square feet, about the size of the one in Middletown. The first 12,000-square-foot phase of the park holds concrete bowls, ramps and steps. Some streetscape work still needs to be complete, but park officials opened the skating area on April 8, in time for spring break this week for the Forest Hills School District.

"It's been widely popular," said Molly McClure, executive director of the Anderson Park District. "The kids are so anxious to start skating we decided not to stop them from that. We'll work around them. They need a legitimate place to be."

The rest of Beech Acres Park, which is being improved, remains closed, but the ball diamonds will be open by mid-May.

The first phase of Anderson Township's skate park is open from dawn to dusk at Beech Acres Park off Salem Road.
A few rules:
• Skate at your own risk.
• Youth under 10 must have parental supervision.
• No glass containers or alcoholic beverages, profanities or loud music.
• Helmets and pads aren't required but strongly encouraged.
• Pegs on bikes, skateboards and in-line skates (for tricks) are prohibited; they damage the concrete.
The next big recreational project in Anderson Township, a dog park at Kellogg Park, opens in June.
All of Beech Acres should be open by the end of July with renovated walking trails and an amphitheater to coincide with Greater Anderson Days.

The skate park came about after moms and teens appealed to township leaders.

Before the park opened, teenagers say, they didn't have any place to legally skate and were getting into trouble when they skated on business lots.

Scott Zellner, 18, has been to the skate park almost every day this week. The Anderson High School senior is on the volunteer park committee that helped plan it for the past two years and raised money by holding a neighborhood garage sale with his mother and other parents of skaters.

"We needed one because there's so many skaters around here," he said. "We were getting kicked out of a lot of businesses and ended up getting into trouble. Now everyone gets to skate together in one place."

A milelong trail also will be built into the park from new sidewalks going in along Salem Road.


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