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Skate park file

In June, while the Portage Parks and Recreation Board met at Goodyear Park, no user of the Portage Family Skate Park was wearing a helmet.

If an updated ordinance goes through as members of Portage’s Parks and Recreation Board recommend, users of the Portage Family Skate Park won’t be required to wear helmets.

But they’ll be encouraged to enjoy the facility safely, wearing safety gear.

The issue, which first came before the committee in June, was resolved Tuesday, as the board voted unanimously to forward to the Portage Common Council a recommended ordinance update, mainly to reflect that the city’s skate park is now at Goodyear Park and no longer near the Columbia County Fairgrounds.

In June, board member Tim Haak raised the question of whether helmets should be required at the Portage Family Skate Park, which opened two years ago.

Helmets were required at the old skate facility, at Superior and Townsend streets near the fairgrounds.

Parks and Recreation Manager Dan Kremer said he consulted City Administrator Shawn Murphy and City Attorney Jesse Spankowski after the June meeting, on issues such as liability and enforcement.

The ordinance, as proposed, would require all users to “abide by … all posted rules at the skateboard park facility.” And those rules recommend helmets and other safety gear, but don’t require them, Kremer said.

Board member Mike Charles said a helmet requirement “would be awfully hard to enforce.”

The ordinance includes other safety requirements.

Bicycles are prohibited in the skate park, as are any obstacles and structures that aren’t already built in to the facility.

The existing ordinance’s provisions for penalties would remain. Anyone 16 and older who violates the ordinance could be subject to a traffic citation, and anyone ages 12 through 15 could be issued a city citation. Parents or guardians who knowingly authorize or permit their children to violate the ordinance could also be cited.

The Portage Common Council would have to adopt the revised ordinance before it can take effect.

Follow Lyn Jerde on Twitter @LynJerde or contact her at 608-745-3587.

Portage Daily Register Reporter