It's a shame that a few clueless slobs can dash a summer of outdoor fun for the majority of skateboarders, but that's the case in Dracut.
Due to a litany of complaints -- including vandalism, trash, foul language, and the lack of proper gear, the Recreation Commission padlocked the park on May 30, just a few days after it had opened for the season.
And according to Recreation Director Lori Cahill, the park will remain off limits through August. That's when the Board of Selectmen will probably determine its fate.
We don't really understand why the park -- in a highly visible area just off one of the town's main streets adjacent to the Central Fire Station -- amassed such a checkered past since opening in 2006. Trashing the facility seems to be more of a sport than sidewalk-surfing the many ramps and other obstacles placed there to test a skateboarder's skill.
The community came together and raised the $200,000 required to build a facility that should be a town jewel, not a trash bin.
Selectman Tony Archinski told his fellow board members he doesn't understand why a skate park at Lowell's Hadley Field can thrive, but one in Dracut can't. Maybe because it's being used in the manner for which it's intended, and not as a hangout for those with too much idle time.
Selectmen have discussed a few remedies, like lowering the age of those allowed to use the park and adding security cameras to capture would-be vandals and other scofflaws.
Even some of the teen skateboarders offered some suggestions, including an increased police presence during the day. Consistent enforcement of the park's operating hours and swift punishment for curfew violators would also discourage the wrong element from congregating there.
These are all valid ideas, and could be the springboard for further discussions when selectmen convene to weigh this problem at the end of the summer.
When neighbors got fed up with the rowdy behavior and litter around Lake Mascuppic, they formed a grass-roots group. The result was more police patrols and cleanup days to keep the grounds around the lake in pristine condition.
All the money and sweat equity that went into making this skatepark a reality shouldn't be squandered because of a few slovenly punks.
It's time Dracut took back the skateboard park.