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posted: 6/30/2010 12:01 AM

West Dundee residents not on board with skatepark

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  • Kids use the skate park at Huffman Park in West Dundee Monday. Neighbors are complaining that the skate park is attracting some unsavory characters who cut through yards and commit petty crimes.

       Kids use the skate park at Huffman Park in West Dundee Monday. Neighbors are complaining that the skate park is attracting some unsavory characters who cut through yards and commit petty crimes.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 

When the skatepark at Huffman Park in West Dundee was built last summer, the concrete plaza was intended to be a place for local skateboard enthusiasts to hone their skills away from sidewalks and nearby Spring Hill Mall.

However, some residents say the skatepark has infringed on their peaceful neighborhood on the west side of the village.

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"When I heard a skatepark was going in, all I could think of was what comes with that," said Chris Fonseca, who lives on Edinburgh Lane. "This is not a bunch of 5-year-olds on swing sets."

Fonseca said her husband once caught two teens attempting to steal a case of pop from the family's garage.

Neighbor Amy Stikovich said while teens using her yard as a shortcut to the park is a problem, illegal activity she says is occurring at the park is the larger issue that police need to address.

"The kids are disrespectful when they're cutting through yards and going into people's garages," Stikovich said. "But that, coupled with incidences of petty theft and drugs, that's when it becomes more of a concern. The police need to get a handle on it before it gets worse."

Although Huffman Park is a Dundee Township Park District property, the West Dundee Police Department regulates laws and ordinances within the larger park and skate plaza - the only one within the park district. Police have increased patrols at the park over the past two months, Interim Chief Andrew Wieteska said. Officers are now doing daily foot patrols of the park. In that time, Wieteska said, there have been about five arrests for minor offenses at the skate park. Wieteska said the main problems are underage smoking and marijuana.

"We were alerted to some activity in the park and we increased patrols," Wieteska said. "I think it has gotten better. The park is a safe place for kids and families. Sometimes parks attract the less desirables, but with increased police presence and cooperation from the residents, we can keep the park a pleasant place for everybody."

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