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Monday , 19 October 2020
With safety concerns of children running onto the road to recover their skateboards and scooters, town council discussed installing barriers and fencing.

Temporary barrier, not chain link fence for St. Paul skatepark for now

St. Paul town council voted to erect a temporary barrier between the skatepark and 53 Avenue following a discussion of safety concerns and aesthetics at the Oct. 13 council meeting.

Since the skatepark opened in June, there have been concerns about the potential for children chasing skateboards to run into traffic.

Earlier this year, town council voted to make a portion of 53 Avenue a playground zone with a 30 km/h speed limit. At Monday night’s meeting, administration brought a proposal for a chain link fence between the park and the road and recommended public works proceed with the installation of the fence immediately.

“Today the park was actually quite busy. There were a lot of kids out there and so I think it’s still going to be an issue,” said CAO Kim Heyman.

Coun. Nathan Taylor said he sees the need for a barrier, but did not support a chain link fence.

“I think we have a beautiful skateboard park and I would rather wait another year, invest a little bit more time and possibly some more money on looking for a more aesthetically pleasing divider. I don’t think $4,000 for a galvanized steel or even colored fence is the way to go off after we’ve spent so much money and this community group has spent so much money in beautifying that spot,” said Taylor.

Coun. Ron Boisvert agreed, but expressed concerns about the town’s liability if no barrier was erected.

Heyman said there was probably liability regardless, whether from a kid coming off the park and hitting the fence or a loose skateboard hitting a vehicle.

“I’m not sure we can ever avoid that. But I think if you take liability out of the question and look more at safety than I think a fence is necessary,” said Heyman, wondering if a wooden fence would be more pleasing.

“I’m thinking something more concrete, or I’m hoping Gary can work with some of our artists in town to find something more pleasing. I’m not exactly sure. But I’m just not in favor of chain,” said Taylor.

“My only other comment is that if we put a snow fence in there it would be on a temporary basis. … My concern is if we don’t do anything at all, we’re liable and we’ve got more liability than we have now because we know it is a problem,” said Boisvert.

Boisvert made a motion to erect a temporary barrier and pursue something more aesthetically appealing in spring of 2021. The motion carried.

About Meredith Kerr

Meredith Kerr moved to St. Paul for a career in journalism and morning radio in 2014 expecting to stay for six months to a year. Since then, she has put down roots in the form of a husband, a mortgage, two babies, and a poorly behaved dog. She continues to work as a reporter until such time as she finishes her book and becomes fabulously wealthy from the royalties. Meredith also serves as a member at large on the St. Paul Library Board and volunteers as a Beaver leader for the 1st St. Paul Scout Group.