New Castle might consider skateboard ban

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By Brent Schanding

Landmark News Service

Growing complaints against skateboarders could prompt New Castle officials to tighten an ordinance addressing public safety.

City Police Chief John Porter said Friday skaters, most of them teens, have been a nuisance at the bank, post office and other sites around the city.

"It's any property they can get," Porter said. "The main problem is they're causing damage to businesses."

Last month, a skater allegedly applied wax to the steps of United Citizens Bank & Trust Co. in New Castle. The wax, which is commonly applied to surfaces to enhance skateboard stunts, created a slick spot and reportedly caused someone to slip.

"They're also riding out in the middle of the streets," said Porter, who fears the teens could get hit by motorists.

City Attorney Joe Yates said existing ordinances do not address skateboarding. Mayor Judy Diederich indicated that commissioners could consider a comprehensive ordinance that would ban skateboards and bikes from city sidewalks.

While skaters can be cited for disorderly conduct under existing laws, Porter said no citations have been given.

Still, Porter said he has confiscated a few skateboards to remedy problems.

"Where the parents have been involved it helps," he said.

County officials have discussed constructing a skate park, but Porter said approval of the plan is unlikely because of high costs and liability issues.

"Skateparks are very expensive," he said.

Porter admits while some of the issues are simply "kids being kids," he maintained that skateboards should be treated as vehicles when they're on local roadways.

"They also need to wear all their safety equipment, and follow the laws," he said.

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