By Ed Harris
The skatepark at YMCA Camp Sloper is open only once a month this year, due to budget issues.
“Being the sole funder, we are assuming all the maintenance and staff costs for the program, which has limited our ability to be open more,” said Mark Pooler, Camp Sloper director.
The skatepark was constructed at Sloper, with help from Home Depot, in the spring of 1998. In the spring of 2000, the park was opened three days a week to YMCA members and Southington residents.
In the spring of 2008, the YMCA received a $125,000 grant to replace the wooded ramps at the park with metal ramps. In the spring of 2012, the town cut its funding during the budget process, leaving the YMCA as the sole funder of the program.
The park opens tomorrow, Saturday, May 31 and moving forward will open the third Saturday of the month, from noon to 5 p.m. Sloper officials will evaluate attendance and the future of the program at the end of the year.
“This is all we can fit into our budget at this point,” Pooler said.
Park officials are trying to make the most out of the limited openings. Pooler said there are plans for demos and a DJ, along with contests. Everything is still in the works and Pooler was unable to provide any specifics.
Free skateboarding lessons are also available for beginning skaters.
The park is open June 21, July 19 and August 16, from noon to 5 p.m. Staff will be present while the park is open.
Helmets are required additional padding is recommended. Skaters must have a signed 2014 waiver form from their parents in order to skate.
The park is open and free to all Southington residents and members of the Southington and Cheshire YMCAs who are in the third grade or higher. Parents must accompany all third and fourth graders.
If you have any questions, contact Shane Altwies, Outdoor Center program director at 860-621-8194 ext. 308 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.