The Ogden City Council is considering a ban on skateboarding, roller skating and similar activities in the central business district, to the dismay of local teens.
Police Chief Joe Ritchie has asked the council to adopt the ordinance because citizen complaints, unsafe conditions and property damage resulting from skateboard use have increased to an "intolerable level."But teenagers who see downtown Ogden's concrete sidewalks, steps and ramps as their only skateboard park say it's unfair to force them out.
Because the county lacks a skateboard park, they say, there is nowhere else to go.
A public hearing on the proposed law is scheduled for Nov. 8.
The boundaries of the ban would run roughly from 26th Street to 21st Street and from Grant Avenue to Adams Avenue. Areas in which skating would be prohibited include the Municipal Building block, Union Station and Tabernacle Square.
The solid granite steps leading to the Municipal Building are chipped and scarred as are the concrete stairs, ramps and flower garden borders at the Ogden Regional Center, Ritchie said.
The chief said he's worried that the new City Centre with its polished marble and granite also will become a tempting target.
Teenagers have indeed descended on the building.
On Friday, they could be seen flying up and down sloped window wells on its south side, catching air off the marble planter boxes in front and doing various "Ollie" tricks, a series of acrobatic maneuvers, while riding skateboards on the concrete steps in the rear.
One skateboarder said the new building is probably the city's hottest skating spot right now.
Dean Cardon, owner of a downtown land title company, said skateboarders have broken his windows doing tricks up against his building.
"I think they're dangerous," said Cardon, who supports the proposed ordinance.
Skateboarders acknowledge causing some property damage, but say they don't have anywhere else to skate.
"They shouldn't take that from us if we don't get in the way of anybody or run anybody over," said Greg Miller, 15.
"I think it sucks," said 15-year-old Scott Eames. "I mean where else are we going to skate if we get kicked off the street."
At Skate Street, a downtown skate board shop, there are six pages of names on a petition asking the city to build a skateboard park. Given Ogden's financial condition, that's not likely to happen.
But at a meeting Thursday, the city council directed the parks and recreation department to look into alternate locations for skateboarding.
"It's nice to pass an ordinance that says don't do it," said council member David Haun. "But I'm afraid we're sending out the wrong message. I think there are more positive ways of handling it."