Skate Park makes its mark

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By Mariajaleh McTeigue

By Marganne Glasser

Oohs, ahs and laughter rise above the steady rumble of Central Avenue’s constant flow of traffic. Nice weather has come back, at least for a little while, and the skate park is alive and buzzing with the sound of skateboard wheels hitting the concrete.
The action and upbeat mood can quickly draw passersby into the fast-paced activity. Skaters, BMX bikers, even people on roller blades and kids on scooters can be found at the park on any given day. Teens stop and watch tricks, show off some tricks of their own, or just hang out with friends, but it hasn’t always been that way. In fact a number of people were against the skate park from the beginning.
Los Alamos residents Jack and Coleen Hanlon opposed the skate park being built in front of Mesa Public Library. In fact, they filed a lawsuit against Los Alamos County in an effort to stop construction of the park. They later dropped the lawsuit and the plan to build the park continued.
Today, the Hanlons see the park has become beneficial to the community as a whole.
“We originally thought that having it in front of the library would be inconvenient,” the Hanlons said. “The lot area, where many activities take place, would be interfered with if the park was constructed there.”
The couple believed that the park would be used more if built even larger on the other side of the community building.
Many of the librarians are pleased with the location of the skate park, but that wasn’t always the case either. When plans to build the park near the library were announced a couple of years ago, some of the librarians had mixed emotions toward the soon-to-be skate park.
Anne Dulany expressed her concern for the mothers going to the library with their younger children.
“I was afraid that the children would be badly influenced by the skaters, but I now see that they are excited by the tricks and enjoy the extra action,” Dulany said.
The librarians also see that there are more kids coming to the library — if only to hang out.
“Even if they’re a couple steps closer to the books, it’s still a step closer to where we want them to be,” Dulany said.
There’s no need to ask, because the skaters that utilize the park show — through their actions — that they are thrilled that the park is available for their use.  
“It’s better than having to commute to the White Rock park,” Aaron Delaney said. “The park is definitely worthwhile even if only used as a place to hang out.”
The layout of the skate park allows both long-time skaters and newbies to utilize the area. Even non-skaters enjoy the park as a hang-out spot. They also enjoy watching the skaters perform tricks and skate.
Though there was some initial opposition to the skate park in its current location, that seems to have faded as the park became a reality, and it now appears to the new “hot spot” for teens in town.