Bikers want access to park - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Bikers want access to park

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Posted: Saturday, November 15, 2003 3:54 am | Updated: 2:01 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Matt Rich and Josh Betley want to stop breaking the law.

At this point, though, the teenagers said they have no choice.

The two are among dozens of bicycle riders who use the Gilbert Freestone Skate Park, although it has banned bicycles and welcomed skateboarders and in-line skaters since it opened in March 2001.

"We’re trying to do nothing but get access to the current park," said the 18-yearold Rich, a Chandler-Gilbert Community College student. "The park can suit the bikes; we just need to have the city understand."

Rich and Betley, 17, first met with town officials in August. They were two of four bikers who spoke before the Gilbert Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in October, and two of about 50 who attended last week’s meeting.

In response, the Gilbert Parks and Recreation Department is researching costs to either retrofit the 22,000-square-foot park or build a new one for bikes.

The town expects maintenance and liability costs would rise, but the figures are not yet available, Gilbert parks superintendent Kenny Martin said.

Both sides may present their findings as early as the Dec. 4 parks board meeting or during a meeting early next year.

Bikers and skaters said it’s rare when problems develop between the groups, but it is common to see police officers chase fleeing bikers.

"I don’t have a problem with bikers if they don’t get in the way," said skater Ian Gaglione, who supports adding on to the park.

The Gilbert Police Department did not return phone calls but Councilman Don Skousen said police are instructed to enforce the rules. Skousen, the council’s liaison to the parks board, hopes to reach "some middle ground."

"The (bikers) are sure it doesn’t do any damage, but we’re being told the opposite right now," he said. "We have to find that out."

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