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Chappaqua/Pleasantville Skate Park to Close

Park to be shuttered amid budget cut, dropping interest from teens.

When the new year comes around, one local park will not reopen.

That is because the Town of New Castle's proposed 2013 budget calls for closing the skate park in downtown Chappaqua, which is jointly paid for by the Village of Pleasantville and is near its border. The cut is being made by eliminating all funding for the park. For 2012, New Castle appropriated $4,960 for the park. Among the reasons for not continuing the funding would be to avoid paying for an attendant.

The decision to close the skate park, explained New Castle Recreation and Parks Superintendent Robert Snyder, is because of a drop in demand. At an October 2 work session with the New Castle Town Board, he said that enrollment “has progressively gone down since we opened the park.”

The same has been true for Pleasantville, Village Administrator Patricia Dwyer told Patch, noting that it hasn't really been utilized by village residents who have to travel to New Castle to use the park.

"We had discussions with [New Castle] early on," Dwyer said about the situation. "It doesn't make much sense [to keep funding it]."

While Pleasantville Mayor Peter Scherer said he did not yet know about the plan, "I'm not surprised to hear that," he told Patch.

At the work session, Snyder was asked about the fate of the equipment.

“What kind of shape is the equipment in?” asked New Castle Supervisor Susan Carpenter.

“It’s in good shape," he replied, noting that it's made of steel.

The intent is to keep the equipment where it is currently, but to secure it; Snyder mentioned chains and a PVC pipe as ways to do it. The board did not rule it reopening it in a future year if demand increases again.

New Castle Councilman John Buckley noted the decline in popularity of the park over they years, saying it had “a great following with a lot of kids," but added that it "all really dissipated."

Snyder was asked whether kids were skating around town, like they were prior to the park's opening a few years back. He replied that the interest has dropped. 

“I don’t see it like it used to," he said. Snyder also noted that, based on having talked with counterparts in other communities, the downward trend is not unique.

Similarly, Scherer stated, "It's a very modest cost to us overall, but all of us are under heavy pressure at the moment because of the need to reduce costs and so, in our specific case, the numbers of kids that are getting served hasn't been impressive enough to necessarily warrant the cost."

People who do use the park were disappointed to learn of its impending closure.

Anthony Berman, Chappaqua, said it "seems to be a really good place," for people getting into skateboarding.

Jackson Rourke, also of Chappaqua, said it was "too bad" that the park is closing, and noted that some high school students, who pushed for creating it, "worked pretty hard for it."

"It would be a shame," said Letty Batjiaka, a Chappaqua mother who takes her son to it once a week.

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