Dogwood Skateboard Park
Background Information & Outcome
Legislation: Ordinance No. 15-02. An ordinance
authorizing the Board of Control of the City of North Canton,
through the Director of Administration, to advertise and receive
bids according to specifications now on file in the office of
the Director of Administration and the Mayor to enter into a
contract for the installation of a skateboard park and declaring the
same to be an emergency.
The legislation was discussed by the Park & Recreation
Committee and council and referred out of committee for
legislation on January 22, 2002. When this issue was first
discussed for legislation, the Chairman of the Parks &
Recreation Committee was not specific on the exact location of
the proposed skateboard park.
The uncertainty of where the skateboard park would actually be
located is revealed in a brief mention of the proposed
Skateboard Park legislation on January 23, 2002, in this
Canton Repository article: “Water rates flood N. Canton agenda.”
Outcome: The legislation was read once at a
council meeting on January 28, 2002 with a request that it be
passed on an emergency. Passage of legislation on an emergency
requires six votes and allows legislation to take effect
immediately upon its approval by the mayor.
In the only reading of the legislation, all members present
voted as follows:
Yes: Foltz, Kiesling, Lindower, Magel, McLaughlin,
Osborne and Snyder
A second vote was taken by council to suspend the rules
requiring the legislation be read at three different, regular
Council meetings. In the vote to suspend the rules for this
legislation, all members present voted as follows:
Yes: Lindower, Magel, McLaughlin, Osborne, Snyder,
Foltz and Kiesling
A third vote to adopt the legislation under the suspension
of the rules was taken. In the vote to adopt the legislation
under the suspension of the rules, all members present voted
Yes: Snyder, Foltz, Kiesling, Lindower, Magel and
There was no mention of the passage of the skateboard park
legislation in this Canton Repository article published
the next day: “N. Canton Council discusses water plant,
purchases trucks.” However, the Akron Beacon Journal
reported the funding approval for the skateboard park in this
January 29, 2002 article: “North Canton OKs funds for skate
At the council meeting of March 11, 2002, Mayor Tom Rice
requested that council take a poll to see if there was
continued support from council to locate the skateboard park
in the tennis courts at Dogwood Park.
Mayor Rice's request followed
my letter to
the mayor requesting careful consideration of the wishes of
residents living in the neighborhood surrounding Dogwood Park along with
signatures of 142 petitioners who opposed the Dogwood
In the poll to support the location of the skateboard park
at Dogwood Park tennis courts and the emergency funding of it,
all members present voted as follows:
Yes: Foltz, Kiesling, Lindower, Magel, McLaughlin
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My Position and Rationale
My Position: I was
opposed to locating the skateboard park in Dogwood Park and
converting a tennis court into a skateboard park. I was
not opposed to the expenditure of $35,000 for the purchase of
the skateboard park equipment.
- I believe that Dogwood Park is overbuilt and that the
addition of a skate park will add to the congestion that
already exists in the area.
Dogwood Park has a very a large number of recreational
facilities concentrated in a small area. These include the
swimming pool; ball fields used for little league and organized
baseball, softball, and tee ball events; picnic facilities;
playground facilities; a rental hall used for family and
business gatherings; and basketball and tennis courts.
In a door-to-door canvas of the residents in the Dogwood Park
area (Dogwood Avenue, 10th, 7th, 6th and 5th Streets), nearly
all complained about the increased automobile traffic in the
summer and more difficulty finding parking near their homes.
The emergency squad stationed nearby and Hoover High School generate
even more traffic in the Dogwood Park area. Hoover High School traffic must travel through neighborhoods
surrounding Dogwood Park to get to the high school because
there is no access to the school from the north.
- Many nearby residents opposed building a skateboard
park at Dogwood Park.
A total of 142 people signed a petition (view copy of
petition form) opposing the location of the skateboard
facility in Dogwood Park.
I reported the opposition of the neighborhood to the Dogwood
Park location in
a memo to City Council’s Park & Recreation Committee
dated February 19, 2002.
- Choosing a location other than Dogwood Park for a skateboard park could have numerous advantages.
Selecting a location with ample room for the current design
and future expansion would allow the city to plan a more ideal
skateboard facility from the ground up.
Skating trails and bicycle jumps could be planned in
conjunction with a skateboard park at this location. In-line skating trails
could be added near of the skateboard facility, which would appeal to a wider range of skaters.
The area could also include bicycle jumps. All
of these activities are similar in that they require a lot of
open space for enjoyment as well as safety.
A new location could be located that has ample room for parking.
A location could be found that is well-removed from roadways and
far enough from homes so that the tranquility of all
neighborhoods in the city is maintained.
I believe the city should look closely at locating the
skateboard park near the ball fields on East Maple Street.
This location is removed from residential neighborhoods and
automobile traffic, and appears to have plenty of space to
combine skateboarding, inline skate trails and jumps for
- I do not believe that it is fair to replace one
recreational facility that is used and enjoyed by a wide range
of citizens, including older citizens, with another recreational facility
used primarily by young boys
for a high-risk activity.
The skateboard park would require the loss of two popular
Dogwood Park tennis courts, both in good condition and lighted.
Mr. Carl Gooding, a resident spoke out against the loss of
the Dogwood Park tennis courts at a February 11, 2002 council
meeting. Prior to the council meeting, Mr. Goodin had written
a letter to council
expressing his concerns with the loss of the tennis courts at
Dogwood Park. Mr. Goodin ended his letter with the following: “TENNIS IS A
GAME FOR A LIFETIME! I don’t know about skateboarding.”
A couple city officials recommended that
residents use the high school tennis courts. However, the schools utilize their own courts. North Canton City Schools
Superintendent Thomas Shoup reveals in
letter that the girls use the courts
in the fall and the boys use the courts in the spring. The
physical education classes use the courts in both the fall and
spring. In fact, the schools use their own courts as well as
Dogwood's tennis courts during times of simultaneous
tournaments. Furthermore, Dogwood's tennis courts are lighted
while the high school courts
- I do not believe that this piece of legislation should
have been passed on an emergency with a suspension of the rules.
When legislation is passed on an emergency, it is read, voted
on, and passed before anyone
knows what took place.
When legislation is rushed through council in this manner,
Council members to not have enough time to research the issues.
Furthermore, residents are deprived of the opportunity to offer their
opinions, and council members are deprived of the opportunity to
hear residents' input.
Legislation for a recreational facility in a city park would
have been an issue where public input —
both pro and con — would have been
especially valuable to the legislative decision-making process.
Because this legislation was passed on an emergency, council
members voted before basic research on the issue could be
undertaken. The city had no time to assess the true level
of interest among residents for skateboarding and a skateboard park site.
There was no time to collect information about similar parks
around the state or to understand the insurance and liability
implications of a city-owned and operated skateboard park.
Until the time the city moved ahead with its own skateboard
park, I proposed that the City of North Canton subsidize passes
for North Canton residents to any commercial skateboard facility in the area.
This would have allowed the city more time to study how North
Canton should proceed in building the best possible skateboard
park, more time to address the concerns of residents living near
Dogwood Park, and more time to save the much-enjoyed Dogwood
Park tennis courts.
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Research, Documentation, & Press
- North Canton OKs funds for skate park (January 29, 2002)
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