ROGERSVILLE - Rogers- ville's new skate park will "officially" open Saturday morning with a few new "unofficial" rules aside from those initially imposed two weeks ago by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Parks Board.
In response to concerns raised by Rogersville's liability insurance provider, the Tennessee Municipal League, the new skate park was padlocked closed last month by the city.
Although the finishing touches hadn't yet been completed on the park, there were reports of youngsters using the park without helmets and pads.
As a result, two weeks ago the BMA and Parks Board met jointly to approve official rules for the park. Those rules included requiring registration of park patrons and the issuance of an I.D. card that must be carried by skaters when they're at the park.
Among the other rules approved was requiring skaters under 18 to wear a helmet, knee pads and elbow pads within the facility.
Instead of approving the rules as an ordinance, the BMA and Parks Board agreed to publish the rules, along with operating hours, in the local newspaper for two weeks. City Attorney Bill Phillips said the public notice would make the rules enforceable by the city with penalties for violators to include suspensions from the park and fines up to $50.
The city split the skate park's $80,000 price tag with a committee headed by Jim Collier, which raised the other $40,000 over the past two years.
Collier admitted to the BMA during Tuesday's regular monthly meeting that the premature opening of the park was a lapse of judgment on his part. Collier added that he and others involved in the skate park construction welcome the rules that will take effect when the park officially opens Saturday morning.
In fact, Collier presented the BMA with some additional rules regarding proper behavior and attire at the park which he would like to become official as well. Those new rules were approved at a Parks Board meeting Tuesday held prior to the BMA meeting but will remain unofficial until they've been published in the local newspaper for the next two weeks.
"They mainly deal with littering, dogs and cats coming in there, loitering, smoking, eating and things like that which are generally rules for a skate park," Collier told the BMA. "It also covers profanity, wearing shirts with profanity written on them, loud music, bullying and things like that. These are a combination of skate park rules we've studied from across the country, and we took the best of them."
The Parks Board also approved additional hours reserved for skaters 10 and younger from the original plan of one morning per week to three: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. until noon.
Skater registration is currently under way at the main City Park administration building during business hours, but Collier said there will also be a registration table at the skate park for Saturday's opening day.
Skaters under 18 who register must bring a parent or guardian to sign a liability waiver.
In other business the Board of Mayor and Aldermen:
•Approved the first reading of an ordinance annexing several industries west of the Route 66 intersection with Highway 11-W, including Baldor, Rockwell Automation, Assured Casting, HDK Industries and TRW. Phillips said the annexation is part of a 2000 agreement with those companies to defer property tax until 2007.
Although the annexation will require two more readings before becoming official, the BMA agreed to give those companies in-city water rates beginning immediately.
•Approved a request from Assistant Fire Chief David Jackson for permission to apply for a state grant which will fund 95 percent of the cost of a new fire truck.
•Approved a low bid of $35,252 from Harrison Construction of Kingsport for street paving.