Thursday, December 31, 2009

Doing it right

Someone told me that the skate park in Montgomery County is far superior to the Howard County skate spot because it doesn't have a speck of spray paint on it and it's protected by a high fence, so I went to check it out. I'll have to take their word for it about the lack of graffiti, because the park was covered in snow today. However, it seems pretty obvious that the Montgomery County skate park is much better than the half-assed skate spot in Howard County. The park did cost $750,000, which in my opinion is beyond excessive, but at least a part of that was paid for through fundraising efforts.

I don't like Montgomery County at all. The local government is far too big and they spend money on everything imaginable (they even have 50 meter Olympic swimming pools). In fact, their public school budget is larger than the budget for the whole Howard County Government (although since they are a much more populated county, that fact by itself is not very meaningful).

But, they seem to have done a much better job with their skate spot. The first thing I noticed was the giant fence to protect the ramps from vandalism. The park is also much larger than the small skate spot that Howard has. Also, according to the website, fees are charged to use the skate park (a season pass is $50). Users also need to sign a waiver and provide an emergency contact form. If there are some people in Howard County who think the skate park is such a great resource, perhaps they can put their money where their mouth is and pool their resources to do a skate park right:

I noticed that tagging is against the rules:

Someone did vandalize this sign in a somewhat clever manner (OK, not really) by turning an "N" into a "G":

I know this pic kinda sucks, but the park is well protected by the fence, it's tough to get a good shot with a cell phone:

I saw this sign on a nearby baseball field. It wouldn't be socialist Montgomery County without onerous rules that make little sense. Government has a heavy hand:

However, Howard County has it's own strange rules. While they allow kids to vandalize the skate park, they do not allow people to chip golf balls on the baseball field next to the skate park:

If Howard County wants to build more skate parks, they should actually do some research first so they know what they are doing next time. Also, if people in the community really want these parks, leverage that demand by soliciting private contributions to build them. Also, don't be afraid to charge user fees. If it's worth it, people will gladly pay.


Eludius said...

Maybe Howard County just wants to make sure Tiger Woods doesn't show up.

Anonymous said...

About the golfing, Howard has an unusual number of numbskulls who drive golf balls off of their 1 acre lots. This insanity puts every car, pet, and child at risk within driving range.

Sometimes you have to state the obvious (NO Driving Golf Balls) because of the ridiculous number of village idiots.