An ordinance prohibiting the use of skateboards in public areas passed without opposition at the Jim Thorpe Borough Council meeting Thursday night, with little surprise from borough residents in attendance, including four local skateboarders.
The ordinance, which will go into effect Tuesday, prohibits skateboarding on streets, paved parking lots and recreation areas owned or maintained by the borough. Violation of the ordinance can result in a fine of up to $300.
"We don't mean disrespect and, in all seriousness, we don't have anywhere to go" noted John Donahue, of Jim Thorpe.
He and his friends have been waiting for a skatepark in Jim Thorpe for years, but have yet to see a plan get off the ground. They understand and are sympathetic to the fact that their skateboards can be loud, but said they are not trying to be an annoyance to the community.
Noise was not what concerned Jim Thorpe Mayor Michael Sofranko, who thought vandalism and property damage had increased as a result of skateboarding in the borough and maintained that the objective is to keep the management of public property under control.
Sofranko believes that the ordinance will help the borough with its larger goal of providing a safe atmosphere while protecting public infrastructure from damage.
"What do we say with this ordinance? The parents of skateboarders should come and get involved with us," he said. "When your kids wanted to play football and were tired of playing in the street, they built a football stadium."
Council members agreed that with parental involvement, a skatepark could be an option in the future.
While the skateboard ordinance and related business took up a large portion of the meeting, the meeting also featured a presentation from Pocono Segway Tours, LLC., and workshops were scheduled for later in the month to begin work on the borough's budget for the next fiscal year.
The borough council approved the hiring of three new part-time police officers to meet increased demand. The Jim Thorpe Police Department will make themselves available to the public to address questions and concerns in an open dialogue with members of the community. The event is tentatively scheduled for Monday, Nov. 15, at the Diligent Fire Company.
The Jim Thorpe Fire Department has a surplus of smoke detectors left over from Fire Prevention Week. Detectors are available, free of charge, to residents of the borough for non-commercial use.
For more information, and to obtain a free smoke detector, contact Jim Thorpe Fire Department Chief Bill Diehm at (570) 325-3890.