O'boro to ban skaters, trick bikers from new downtown area

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - The city of Owensboro is banning trick bikers and skaters from the new developed downtown area.

Owensboro officials say they're not against skateboarding. They're against the damage it leaves behind, the torn up concrete and blocks that were just put in.

Riverfront Crossing in downtown Owensboro has only been open for about six months and city leaders are already having problems with vandalism.

They're placing signs around the park to remind bikers and skaters that they can not ride them on city property.

"There's not much you can do about that besides replace that block," said Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne. "When I saw this, it upset me, but then all I could think about is all those walls in Smothers Park, my lord, the damage that could be done down there."

Skid marks and chipped brick line the area, already costing the city $4,000.

"We just can't accept this," Payne said.

Payne wants three things: more security, a new ordinance and a skate park.

"Well, there's not a lot of places to skate in Owensboro, unfortunately," said skateboarder Elliot Carter.

Carter says he understands the city's frustration, but would hate to see skaters and bikers banned completely.

"With skateboarding, the foundation of it is the freedom and the ability to just go and do it," Carter noted.

The ordinance would prohibit trick skaters and bikers from west Second Street to Third Street.

"Even if you're caught down here with the skateboard, your in violation of that ordinance," Payne said.

Payne says cameras would link to dispatch for monitoring 24-7. Permanent security officers will also patrol the area.

Carter says he would like to work with the city on a new skate park to help avoid these problems in the future.

"A concrete skate park designed by skateboarders and bikers themselves.  If we could have it 24-hours, like in Louisville and to have it free too," Carter said.

Payne says commissioners will review the first reading on this ordinance on the next City Commission meeting and it's to make sure roller bladers, skateboarders, and bicyclists do not tear up city property.

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