Hoping for a new beginning for Greenport Village’s long-neglected skate park, the village is taking over the annual Skate Park Festival, which up until now was run by private organizers.
Until this year, part-time Greenport residents Michelle and Michael Bendik organized the annual Skate Park Festival fundraiser in an effort to help rehab the park. The event was traditionally held on a Saturday in August, but this time around, trustees are aiming to hold the festival on a Sunday.
Previously, the annual festival motivated village officials to do a more thorough cleanup of the park the day before the event, but now the village said they would invest months worth of work leading up to the first-ever village run skate festival.
“We are serious about seeing this place fixed up,”said Village Trustee George Hubbard said.
He and Trustees Mary-Bess Phillips on Friday joined Mayor David Nyce and five local skaters at the Moores Lane facility to discuss possible solutions to the problems facing the skate park.
Built in 1998, the park has since suffered from neglect and vandalism. Just last summer obscene graffiti, including an anti- Semitic symbol was found at the park, as were holes the size of volleyballs in ramps, with trash gathered on the ground underneath the holes.
At the time, now former village administrator David Abatelli said the biggest reason the park had fallen into disrepair is that no maintenance plan was in place when the park opened.
“The kids are lucky it’s still there,” he said.
Although no date has been set for this year’s festival, to get the plans rolling, the village has enlisted the help of longtime Greenport skate park skater Justin “Bo” Pollack, who along with his friend and fellow Greenport skater Andrew Semon have in the past tried to maintain the park on their own dime by painting and installing benches — only to have them removed and damaged.
Mr. Pollack witnessed the deterioration of the park first hand, saying local kids were largely responsible for the destruction over the years.
“Every day I come here to skate it is full of garbage and it really bothers me,” he said. “I just don’t know who has the time to ripped out all the things we did.”
Mr. Pollack and Mr. Semon both agreed to volunteer their time to help organize this year’s festival by finding donors and musicians, and creating posters for the event.
Each offered several suggestions during Friday afternoon’s informal meeting to help improve the park leading up to the festival — including having an employee at the park and ideas for patchwork.
“If we’re going to spend some money it seems we should put things in that can’t be destroyed,” Mr. Nyce said.
The village is now trying to set aside money in its budget to resurface the ramps and remove and update failing equipment. The mayor said he hopes to lump the project into the village’s other planned resurfacing of the basketball courts on Third and Fifth streets.