RIVERHEAD - An East End skate park that was fresh off its long-awaited reopening has been shuttered again after officials say it was targeted by vandals.
It took more than a year and a half to renovate the park in Riverhead, but just two weeks after its reopening, the locks are back in place. Officials say a fence was damaged, and they say people had been using two unsafe ramps that had been repeatedly blocked off.
Town Parks and Recreation Superintendent Ray Coyne says the town hung warning signs, sent police to tell people to stay off the unsafe ramps and tried to block them off three times, to no avail. Coyne says there were multiple other skate ramps available for use, and it was just two that were off limits.
A skater who spoke with News 12 says one of the blocked-off ramps is a favorite among park regulars.
Coyne says he wants to fix the popular ramps to keep the skaters happy, but he notes that $60,000 went into the park and further repairs all come down to money. Until the funds are available, he says the unsafe ramps must be removed, and until that can happen, he says the park must remain closed.
"When you work for a municipality you have to think liability. The town could be sued if one of the kids got hurt on a damaged ramp," Coyne says.
Coyne adds that there's a plan to install security cameras in the area, and he hopes it will deter more damage when the park reopens, which he expects will happen in a few weeks.
The park is also closed to pickleball players who are waiting for a permanent court of their own at the park.