Our opinion: Having a positive conversations

Published 5:57 pm Friday, July 22, 2022

It’s easy to see why sometimes the Austin skate park might go unnoticed. Used by a specific subset of people, the skate park is located along Hormel Drive and Mill Pond, seen mostly by employees coming and going to work.

However, it looks like it’s going to get a little more notice and it’s largely because of how recent issues with the park are being addressed.

Wednesday night, new Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Dave Merrill met with skaters at the park who had legitimate concerns over the park, including safety and the deteriorating structures that make up the park.

It was also an opportunity to address ramps that were added by skaters without first getting approval from the city.

While it would have been easy to try to identify those responsible and even involved law enforcement, Merrill instead reached out and arranged the meeting, giving those who use the park the most a chance to voice their concerns.

Concerns that were well thought out.

There were chips and cracks throughout the ramps and obstacles. There were holes in the cement that could easily lead to injury.

Merrill recognized a need and was able to not only hear first hand, but see first hand some of the issues. It wasn’t just a case of recognizing the additions and simply telling them they would be taken out.

Granted, they will be taken out, but from this has come important conversation about an important destination for some of Austin’s citizens.

What’s better is after Wednesday night’s meeting, both sides came away optimistic about the future.

We are impressed and gladdened by the efforts taken to once again improve a portion of the community and hope this momentum can be taken forward. Oftentimes all a problem needs is a novel approach.