SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (localmemphis.com) — A high school student is trying to bring back a skate park that was recently torn down in Southaven, Mississippi. The 16-year-old is asking for 1,000 signatures and plans to present the petition to city leaders.
The creator, Jarrett Peterson wrote that he spent a lot of time at the skate park riding his bike.
“The Southaven Skate park has had a tremendous impact on my life for the better. Before I began riding my BMX there, I would spend most of my time indoors playing video games. I have met many of my closest friends at the skatepark. It continued to have a positive impact on me for over a year until it was taken away from us in a matter of hours. Now I and my friends have nowhere to partake in our favorite afternoon activity.” (FIND THE PETITION HERE.)
Neighbors told Local 24 News the park was dismantled last week by city crews.
“I walked over and asked them why were they doing it,” said Tyrone Jackson. “One of the workers told me that is why they were taking it down, because it was a public nuisance.”
According to Southaven mayor Darren Musslewhite, the skate park was removed due to numerous concerns expressed by citizens who live near the site and the City’s repetitive efforts to correct the vandalism damage.
“The extreme vulgarity, promiscuity, and vandalism cost became harmful for the area and the City. We have worked for over two years to correct this before making this decision. We have done everything except place 24-hour guards there to correct this problem,” Musslewhite said in a statement.
On April 2nd, the Board of Alderman voted unanimously to have the park dismantled.
“The City of Southaven has proven it understands the value parks provide for our youth and we are considering a better location for the skate park. We need our parents who live near some of our older parks, that have dramatically different statistics regarding vandalism than other parks throughout the City, to become part of the solution and supervise young people who wish to destroy their own parks,” said Musslewhite.
Neighbors who live near the park understand the reason behind the decision, but they want to see something constructed on the now empty slab.
“They need to put a basketball court or something,” said Kevin Faulkner. “The kids need something to do, because if you take away stuff, they find mischief to get into and that’s a negative of taking the park away. If they’re going to take it away, they need to replace it with something else.”