Communities build skateboard parks so kids and adults who enjoy the activity have a place they can go to focus on their sport in a positive environment.
The parks also give skaters a more healthy option than skating and performing stunts in and around schools, churches and government buildings.
That is why we are puzzled by Sunset City Councilman Kevin Snow's concern that the concrete ramp skatepark within John G. White North Park may be attracting an unsavory crowd. He wants it shut down or moved.
Tuesday the council discussed the issue and will look into it more. We don't think a skateboard park attracts any more negative activity than a regular park. And there are many, including Sunset's own police chief, who agree with us.
The Tony Hawk Foundation points out that any negative stereotyping of skateboarders is misdirected:
"Skaters need to be focused and alert, particularly in a skatepark setting, to maintain their balance and to perform the maneuvers they do. Skateboarding, by its very nature, is an anti-drug," Hawk says. "Generally, a skatepark full of kids who are there to skate is a skatepark full of kids not getting stoned."
Police Chief Ken Eborn said if he had kids of skateboarding age he would have no problem with them visiting the skateboard park at 250 W. 2300 North. He said there is no evidence that crime or police calls to the area have increased significantly since the skateboard ramp was built seven years ago.
Sunset Mayor Chad Bangerter pointed out the obvious: "Are there issues? Of course. But we have worse issues in our schools. We don't close them."
A number of cities have constructed skateboard parks in the last 10 years, and to our knowledge none have been shut down.
Sunset shouldn't be the first to do so.