Basalt attempts to coax good behavior from skateboarders | AspenTimes.com

Basalt attempts to coax good behavior from skateboarders

Aspen Times Staff Report

Basalt police are trying to entice kids to be good after some problems popped up and threatened to close the town’s skateboard park.

The cops are offering $2 coupons to “outstanding skater-citizens” – kids who wear helmets, pick up their garbage and treat others courteously, according to a press release from the town.

The new program comes after the town fielded complaints from parents about older kids bullying younger kids, kids not wearing safety gear and litter at the two-year-old park. There has been an “outcry” by some people to close the park, according to the press release.

Police Chief Keith Ikeda decided to take a “positive approach” instead. He approached businesses frequented by skatepark users and requested they offer discounts via coupons issued by the cops for examples of good behavior.

Timbo’s Pizza, Basalt 7-11, Midland Depot and Basalt Texaco Store agreed to give the $2 discounts. Cops will give the coupons out periodically.

If the park users do not respond with voluntary compliance, the police will start issuing summons to violators, according to town officials.

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“We hope to have a good response from the positive reinforcement,” said Ikeda. “We will follow up with strict enforcement where it is necessary. We don’t want to close the park, but the possibility exists.”

Town public services manager Bob Gish said safety is the No. 1 issue for the town. “Everyone must wear a helmet,” he said.

Town officials stressed they want to give skaters every chance to prove the facility should remain open. The skatepark opened two years ago at Gisella Fiou Memorial Park near the center of Basalt. Funds were raised by middle school students from the town of Basalt and Great Outdoors Colorado and through donations from community members.

The park has proven to be extremely popular.

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