Skate Park Closed Over Noise Complaints
The park, which is located off the Newtown Bypass behind Staples, will reopen once the noise issue is addressed.
Newtown Township has temporarily closed its municipal skate park due to noise complaints from residents of the Tyler Walk community, officials said Wednesday.
The skate park, located off the Newtown Bypass behind Staples, opened in October but recent complaints of excessive noise have prompted the township to shut it down until the issue can be resolved.
In the meantime, officials say they’re working to remedy the noise that neighbors say is loud, disruptive, and “a nightmare,” according to one resident.
At Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Township Manager Joe Czajkowski said one option for addressing the noise is to add panels and insulation to the ramp structures. “That hopefully will mitigate the noise,” he said.
But not everyone is so sure that it’s going to be that simple.
Jesse Clayton, a Langhorne resident and owner of a skate park design company, said there are a few factors the township should consider before adding to the existing prefabricated ramps. Any addition to the ramps may compromise the warranty, Clayton pointed out. From his experience as owner of Fifth Pocket, Clayton said boxing in the ramps would result in another, perhaps louder, noise.
“Once you enclose (the ramps), you’ll have echoing. It’s going to perpetuate,” Clayton said.
That’s not exactly what Tyler Walk residents were hoping to hear. More than a dozen turned out to the meeting to express their concerns about the noise from the park.
Tyler Walk resident Sean Cardonick said he was pleased the park was closed but added that’s just a temporary solution to a long-term problem. “Thank you for closing it temporarily but now we have a permanent issue. When is enough, enough over a skate park?”
Cardonick said he has concerns about the township spending money on the park. “How much money are we going to sink into this? It’s a skate park,” Cardonick said.
The park cost nearly $100,000 to construct, with about a third of the money coming from community contributions. Parks and Recreation Department fees were used to pay for the bulk of the expenses.
Cardonick suggested that the park be relocated. “Why not relocate it to the municipal area where we have police? It was a poor decision to put it where it is. Where it’s located is not doing anybody any good.”
Supervisors Chairman Rob Ciervo said throughout the years of research completed when planning the park, sound was never raised as an issue. Furthermore, he added, the park’s location was selected after careful thought and consideration.
“We talked for years about different locations. Anywhere in Newtown that we decided to put it would have been near a residential area,” Ciervo said.
Supervisor Mike Gallagher agreed that the park is noisy. He said he stopped by the skate park over the weekend “and it was like I was in a rifle range. It was loud.”
Gallagher said closing the park and assessing a way to remedy the noise “is a good first step.”
In addition to boxing in the ramps, other suggestions for quelling the noise included adding a vegetative berm to intercept and muffle the noise. Clayton also suggested erecting a skatable concrete berm, an idea the supervisors seemed open to exploring.
However, cost will be an issue. A vegetative berm may work but only if large, mature trees are used, Czajkowski pointed out. “Those trees are a couple hundred bucks each.”
Supervisor Phil Calabro said while there might never be a perfect solution, a happy medium needs to be reached.
“Unless skateboard wheels are made of foam, they’re still going to make some noise,” Calabro said. While there are ways to muffle the sound, “I don’t think dead silence is going to happen.”
While noise was the main reason for closing the park, Ciervo said there is also a structural issue with one of the ramps, which were purchased from the American Ramp Company. A nut or bolt was found missing from one ramp, he said, which needs to be addressed before the park is reopened.
“We just have to take it one step at a time here,” Ciervo said.