2004-02-06 / Community

Local Teens Dig Skate Park Groundbreaking

By Brian Magoolaghan
Local Teens Dig Skate Park Groundbreaking By Brian Magoolaghan


City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr., Mike O’Toole, Pat O’Toole, Sean Neafsey, and Parks Commissioner Adrain Benepe, left to right, break ground at the park by shoveling off some of last week’s snow.City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr., Mike O’Toole, Pat O’Toole, Sean Neafsey, and Parks Commissioner Adrain Benepe, left to right, break ground at the park by shoveling off some of last week’s snow.

Dude, this is gonna be so awesome!

City officials and some of the teenagers who helped design the Rockaway Skate Park finally broke ground, by shoveling off some snow, at the site on Monday afternoon.

The park, which should be complete in the fall of this year, will have ramps, quarter pipes, steps, curbs and grinding rails – basically, everything that the local teens who helped design it asked for, according to Adrian Benepe, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner.

The park will be the area’s only spot specifically designated for skaters – who are typically shooed away from other public places.


Mike and Pat O’Toole and Sean Neafsey stand with the park plans they helped design.Mike and Pat O’Toole and Sean Neafsey stand with the park plans they helped design.

Three of the local teens who helped landscape architect Jon Jadrosich design the park, Mike and Pat O’Toole and Sean Neafsey, were on hand for the groundbreaking. They said they would skate at the park often despite living about a mile away – because they already come to the Beach 90s to surf.

City Councilman Joseph Addabbo Jr., who is credited with securing $600,000 to make the project happen, said the park will be a safe place for them to do their thing.

The paved park, which will replace the grass-covered area between the two boardwalk access ramps on Beach 91 and 92 Streets, will have a drainage system to prevent water from pooling, Benepe said. Other improvements to the area will include new fencing and landscaping.

"Traditional ball fields are very important, but some kids want to do other things," said Benepe, who added that many of the nation’s children are physically unfit and "eat the wrong things.

"It’s a form of fitness that is terrific….skateboarders are rarely overweight," Benepe said.

Skate park neighbors in other parts of the country have complained about noise, foul language, underage drinking and other quality of life issues, according to newspaper reports.

Jonathan Gaska, Community Board 14 District Manager, who will be one of first people to hear any such complaints in Rockaway, if there are any, said bad behavior will not be tolerated. "If we have problems at night, or damage, we’re closing it down," he said.

"The only thing that we ask of [skaters] is that they use it safely," Benepe said.

The park was announced nearly a year ago, but the project was delayed because the first contractor chosen by the city failed a background check, Addabbo said.


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