The future of the Vinton skate park in community hands

The future of the Vinton skate park

VINTON, LA (KPLC) - A sign at Venissat Park in Vinton reads: 'No drugs, alcohol or firearms allowed in the park', but those are the exact reasons a sunny Sunday afternoon at the park has to see empty bleachers, a deserted dugout and a permanently closed skate park.

"We formally introduced that and the council voted on it 5-0 to close it down permanently" said Vinton city councilman, Bliss Bujard.

The idea to close the skate park came after a viral video surfaced on Youtube showing two kids fighting, which drew the attention of concerned parents in the community.

"That was brought to the council's attention by the parents and grandparents of the kids involved and when you actually see it happening people took action" said Bujard.

Taking action meant closing the park temporarily to come up with a solution to the problems concerning violence and unsupervised children in the area- a problem that Bujard could foresee long ago.

"I was opposed to it for the very reason I am now... it was always going to be unsupervised" said Bujard.  "So you have kids of eight, nine ,10 years old mingling with 16,17,18 year olds" he added.

One Vinton resident shares this same opposition; Sandra Vincent, who lives just steps away from the park.

"Adults 19,17, 18 year old kids coming out here wanting to start some trouble it's not for that" said Vincent.  "It's for the younger ones".

Vincent, who often has her grandkids with her in Vinton, says there isn't much for them to do in the city without the park.

"Young kids in Vinton don't have nothing to do on weekends... nowhere to go... grandparents have to go to Lake Charles, Sulphur, Orange [Texas] or somewhere to have fun with their grandkids when they have a whole city here in Vinton" Vincent said.

Now that the skate park is permanently closed, Councilman Bujard says the city council is taking proposals from the community to see what would best occupy the skate park space.

"We've kicked around basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas, walking tracks for the adults as their kids play" said Bujard.  "We don't want to put anything that's going to waste money but we want to spend money for our kids here in town".

Councilman Bujard doesn't have an exact date of when a decision will be made on what will permanently replace the skate park, but says that he hopes the council and the community can come to an agreement within the next few months.

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