The City Council Thursday night banned skateboards and roller skates from downtown Ogden, and also prohibited people from riding skateboards on any city streets.
The action came following a public hearing, and council members agreed to form a committee to determine what, if anything, the city can do to provide a park where skateboarders could practice their skills.Police Chief Joe Ritchie requested the ban last month after complaints began rolling in. Ritchie said teenagers are vandalizing downtown property by riding skateboards over sidewalks, stairs, ramps and flower garden borders.
The downtown ban runs roughly from 26th Street to 21st Street and from Grant Avenue to Adams Avenue. The ban also prohibits skating in Municipal Gardens, Union Station and Tabernacle Square.
In addition to property damage, Ritchie said skateboards are a danger to pedestrians and motorists.
The chief asked that enforcement of the ordinance not go into effect for two weeks so police could issue warnings to violators.
The audience was divided about the ban.
"Being a skater isn't a terrible thing," said Rhoda Struhs. "It's a good sport."
Struhs argued against the ban, saying her son's skateboard is his primary mode of transportation.
She said teenagers understand the problems and resent being singled out.
Rex Bingham, owner of a skateboard shop in downtown Ogden, favored the ban. "I do agree with the ordinance," he said.
Bingham said he has tried to discourage youths from hanging around outside his shop and that he knows that police are currently confiscating skateboards from teenagers.
"There's no place for us to go," said one young man who said he rides a skateboard. "We come down here to have fun."
Donna Colson, owner of a Sandy skateboard park named Mrs. C's, told the council that most of her clientele are men in their late 20s or early 30s. "We're looking at a sport," she said.
Colson encouraged the council to provide a place for people to skate.
She pointed out that the city provides golf courses for golfers, and said that if a motorcycle was driving in downtown Ogden making too much noise, the city wouldn't ban motorcycles.
City Recreation Manager Dean Allen said he looked into skateboard parks and could find only six in the Western part of the country. He said if the city wanted to build such a park, it would have to look at liability because the sport is dangerous.
"The risk of liability is of grave concern," he said. "But I do think there is a need. It would provide a service to the community."