An unidentified skateboarder in Riverside Gardens Park in 2011. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge.)


hot topic red bank njA proposedĀ skateboarding event encountered early hurdles during the Red Bank council meeting Wednesday night.

With Councilman Hazim Yassin absent from the Zoom session, the council discussed a skateboarding event, proposed for Sunday, May 15 in the East Side parking lots.

Acting borough Business Administrator Darren McConnell told the council it was being asked to approve the event date, not the event itself, so the proponent could begin signing up sponsors and filling in event details, which would be put before the special events committee in February.

Erin Morales, who owns theĀ Feet First skateboard shop on Monmouth Street with her husband, Rodney Morales, proposed the event. She did not speak during the meeting.

The council approved the date, but not before elected officials voiced concerns.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, an attorney, said the council should be concerned about legal liability.

Proof of insurance and waivers for all participants would be required, said Clerk Pam Borghi.

“That won’t hold up when a five-year-old kid gets hurt,” Menna said. “No release is going to hold up in court when you have that, even if it’s signed by a parent. So I think we have to be very, very careful.”

Councilwoman Kathy Horgan said she did not oppose the event being held, but said that skateboarders in Manhattan, where she works, were “ruining benches” and planters.

“Is that a good place to have a skateboarding event?” she asked, noting that the lots are scheduled for repaving and upgrades in coming months. “I think we want to protect our property. I’m not against something like this, but I would like to make sure that there’s an understanding of what they can do and cannot do.”

McConnell said the location was chosen because it’s expected to have “the smoothest surface” as a result of the planned work, and because the lots are barely utilized on Sundays.

The organizers would bring in their own ramps and other equipment for the event, he said.

Still, “we need to tread cautiously,” said Councilman Ed Zipprich, referring to damage caused by skateboarders in Riverside Gardens Park several years ago.

“Here we are, spending a hell of a lot of taxpayers’ money to resurface a lot that is in dire need of repair,” Menna said. “And as soon as we finish it, we’re going to be inviting skateboarders to zip up and down that lot, and god knows what kind of damage” will result, he said.

“I can assure you that skateboard wheels do not damage pavement,” said Councilwoman Kate Triggiano. “Cars and trucks drive through that parking lot. I can assure you that should not be a concern.”

Councilman Michael Ballard asked that the proposal be reviewed by the citizens’ parks and rec committee.
During public comment, Branch Avenue resident Stephen Hecht said he hoped that the event would be monitored to verify participation by borough children, in keeping with parks and rec Director Del Dal Pra’s “Red Bank First” campaign.

If you value the news coverage provided by redbankgreen, please become a financial supporter for as little as $1 per month. Click here to set your own level of monthly or annual contribution.