Skatepark Advocate Wants Lights for Facility

first_imgBy DONALD WITTKOWSKISteve Beseris says that even during the coldest days of winter there is one place in town that is always bustling with activity – the Ocean City Skatepark.“On days I would never be outside, they’re out there all day long,” Beseris said of the skateboarders.He hopes that the park’s popularity in the daytime will persuade city officials to install permanent lights to give skaters even more time to enjoy an attraction that everyone agrees has become a big hit.Beseris, a local educator and advocate for the skatepark, appeared at the City Council meeting Thursday night to urge the governing body to consider adding lights to the facility. He immediately received the backing of at least three Council members who spoke in favor of installing lights.“I think there’s value in that. It’s just so well-used when it’s open,” Councilman Michael DeVlieger said of the possibility of adding lights.DeVlieger, who was one of the park’s chief proponents when it opened in 2015, said the facility has become a widely accepted part of the community, even among people who originally were against it. Other Council members agreed.“I don’t think I’ve heard a complaint about it, I really don’t,” Councilman Keith Hartzell said.Some Council members say the city should consider adding lights at the skatepark.Hartzell characterized the skatepark as “just one more jewel” the city has for children and teenagers. He believes the skaters deserve to be “rewarded” with new lights for transforming the park into a popular attraction.“I’m just overwhelmed with the participation there,” Hartzell said.Councilwoman Karen Bergman joined with DeVlieger and Hartzell to support installing lights at the park. She said nighttime skating would give kids another option for recreation.“That would be a plus for us as a community,” Bergman said.Mayor Jay Gillian said in an interview after the Council meeting that he also supports the idea of having lights at the park. Gillian, though, indicated that he first wants to see what type of infrastructure would be needed for the lights.“We’ve got to investigate it,” the mayor said. In his remarks to City Council, Beseris said the skatepark is a community asset that gives young skaters a positive outlet for their energy. He believes it will become an even greater attraction by adding lights for nighttime skating.“I feel the infrastructure is there. Clearly, the interest is there,” he told the Council members.Skatepark advocate Steve Beseris believes the facility would become even more popular with permanent lighting.Beseris runs the library at the Ocean City Intermediate School and also teaches video production. In an interview, he said he has been working with a school club to help skaters edit their videos shot at the park.Beseris also told Council that the skatepark helps young people build character and to transition into leadership roles as they become adults.Noting that he recently attended the funerals of two young people who died of drug overdoses, Beseris said the skatepark creates a healthy diversion for teens to help keep them out of trouble. The Ocean City Skatepark is a popular attraction. (Photo courtesy of Ian Crowley)last_img read more