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Teens look to skate
Want city to build skate park
skate park again
Scott Willett and teen Jacob Acre are standing up for skateboarders. The two asked McMinnville officials to consider building a skate park due to the lack of space where skateboarding is allowed. The city has considered the option of building a skate park in the past.

Skateboarding is not a crime, but the areas open to skateboarders are becoming scarce. The idea of a skate park in the city of McMinnville is being thrown into the air once again.
“I’m a musician, senior, and a skateboarder,” said teenager Jacob Acre. “My friends and I have longed for a chance to do what we are doing tonight, so I want to thank you for giving us this opportunity. Hopefully, by the end of this, everyone will see the benefits of a skate park in Warren County.”
Acre attended a regular session of the McMinnville Board of Mayor and Aldermen with several of his friends asking officials to consider a skate park after a recent decision by them enforced an existing ordinance that forbids riding bicycles and skateboards downtown.
 “None of my friends are hooligans, punks, vandals or any of the other negative names you hear associated with skateboarders,” said Acre. “The reason we get labeled is because we aren’t supposed to skateboard on the sidewalks or down the street, but we do. We do that because we don’t have a place to go. Unfortunately, the gravel in my driveway doesn’t allow me to skate there.”
Officials have considered building a skate park for more than a decade without taking strides to make it a reality. Back in 2012, officials asked for an estimate on cost. Estimates presented to them by McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord ranged from $140,000 to $400,000, with the lowest amount enough to build a skate park similar to one in Athens, and the highest amount being the cost of a professional skate park that could be used to hold tournaments.
Acre says a skate park would provide a safer alternative to using sidewalks and streets, an argument used by former McMinnville Parks and Recreation director Carlene Brown before a city meeting in 2001.
“A skate park in this town would benefit the kids and it would benefit their parents,” said Acre. “I understand some of your concerns. When I have kids, I wouldn’t want them riding their skateboards in the streets or being a nuisance to law enforcement. It’s better to provide a supervised location, a safer area for them, a place where they are not getting in trouble, a place where they can just have fun.”
Not providing a skate park, but removing all the options for skateboarding, hurts the dreams of some teens, Acre says.
 “Some of my friends dream of becoming nationally renowned skateboarders and they don’t want to give that up,” said Acre. “To me, taking a teen’s dream and throwing it away seems wrong. We aren’t harmful. We aren’t bullies. We don’t go out with the intent of scaring anyone or hurting anyone. No one in our group would. We intend to skate and enjoy ourselves. That’s all we want to do.”
Scott Willett, a former youth pastor at Lighthouse Ministry, was in attendance at the meeting and spoke in favor of a skate park.
“Not all of our kids have the luxury of an asphalt driveway, or an asphalt street for that matter,” said Willett. “Yet everywhere they go they see signs that say ‘no skateboarding.’ You see people jogging down the street and that’s OK. You see people walking their dogs and that’s OK. For some reason, when we see a skateboard, we see trouble. I don’t understand that. The youth I represent are good kids. I understand there are some kids who do things wrong, but we are putting a label on every single kid that has a skateboard. I think that a skate park is something we should look into.”
No meetings have been scheduled to address the skate park request.