The possibility of unsupervised hooligans overrunning Woods Cross has caused some residents to board the anti-skate train.
Many of those residents spoke during a City Council public hearing on a proposed new community park. In addition to basketball, volleyball and picnicking facilities, plans call for the new park to have a skateboarding plaza."I have concerns that we will attract the wrong element to our city," Woods Cross resident Ralph Argyle said.
Argyle pointed to the Farmington skate park, constructed two years ago, as proof that a skate park would bring in bad seeds. His granddaughter, who lives across the street from the park, often complains to him about the rude and vulgar behavior of the kids, he told the more than 100 people attending the meeting.
Like most of the opponents to the skate park, Argyle stopped short of implicating Woods Cross children. Instead, he feared problems would come from elsewhere.
Those in favor of the plan, however, said the positives outweigh any disadvantages or cost the park might have.
"I don't think people have any understanding of these kids who skateboard," said Randy Lloyd, a West Valley police officer who also runs a private skateboarding facility. "They may look a little scary, but they are not. They have great courtesy for each other and police themselves very well."
Lloyd spoke not as a resident, he said, but as a professional who had worked with many skateboarders. He said he has never encountered a problem.
"A lot of people have misconceptions about skateboarders," said Jon Vaughn, a Woods Cross teenager who skateboards. "They think we are troublemakers, and that's just not true."
Many of the stereotypes about skateboarders have come about because the sport isn't allowed in most areas, he said. But skaters still want to practice their sport and tend to get in trouble simply because they want to skate.
"I skateboard where I can because it's fun," Vaughn said. "If I had a place like the park to go to, I wouldn't skate in these other places."
That didn't convince residents like Mike Fuhriman. "As a citizen, I don't want to pay for these kids to play," he said.
Other residents disputed the characterization of the Farmington park as attracting the wrong crowd.
"The kids at that park show great courtesy," said David Dewey, who takes his children - including his young daughter - to the park. "They were not overbearing or scary for the smaller children, and I have never seen anything that concerned me."
Council member Lise Tuttle said the park would give skaters a chance to perfect their sport peacefully, just like someone who plays any other sport.
"We need this park so these kids have a place besides churches and business to practice this sport," Tuttle said.
Tuttle and other council members will continue to study the proposed park, along with numerous other neighborhood parks and jogging trails, during coming meetings. No date for a decision has been set.