Blindsided the Residents
Residents are justifiably disappointed with the lack of transparency and public input on the town’s decision to dismantle and close the skate park. A special Parks & Recreation Commission meeting, which almost no one knew about, was held March 15, to discuss the closure. Sadly, the current Mayor Joe Carfora administration not only closed the park, but also completely dismantled it and put up for auction before the minutes of that meeting were even filed with the Town Clerk’s Office.
This move blindsided not only the residents of this town, but also many others in the area who used the park. The current administration has not been shy using the town’s website and social media accounts to spread town news. Any, or all, of these platforms should have been used to get meaningful input from residents on the proposal to close the skate park. That didn’t happen, and hundreds of voices were silenced as a result.
The town has cited littering, loitering, graffiti, and other issues as reasons for closing the park. Couldn’t discussions have occurred with the residents and various town departments to help remediate the issues facing the skate park before just shuttering it without a single piece of public input?
While I disagree with the decision, I firmly believe that Liz Franco, the town’s recreation director, made her decision in good faith. She has years of valuable experience with our youth and a heart of gold. However, the current administration put her in a bad spot by failing to back up her good-faith proposal with a meaningful public forum in which to debate it. The current administration criticized past leaders for a lack of transparency and promised an open-door policy. Its actions, on this issue, were anything but transparent.
Stacy Gravino chairs the Republican Town Committee.