Police are trying to find out who tried to build a concrete skateboard ramp at the skate spot and who ripped down the metal sign posting the rules for the park.
A witness called Montgomery County Police in mid-July to report seeing kids pushing a heavy wheelbarrow to the skate spot area located in Lakelands Park near the ball fields. Police investigated it, finding a mound of concrete left on the site.
“It appeared the kids were trying to make a skateboard ramp in the corner spot,” said Gaithersburg Police Chief Mark Sroka.
Gaithersburg police are handling the incident and said they do have suspects in the case.
“These are kids and this kind of thing happens. We want to follow up on it. Our preliminary information is that there was no malice. They were just looking to make a skate ramp,” Sroka said.
A more recent incident has police trying to determine how a metal sign was ripped from its brackets and left on the ground. Sroka said he was just made aware of the incident by The Town Courier.
“We’ll have to look into it, but this is the first I have heard this,” he said.
Lakelands resident Ian Kessler, who lives on the corner of Main and Sheila streets, said he noticed the downed sign on Saturday, July 31. Kessler is also concerned about litter at the skate spot.
“Saturday morning we can hear the clanking of metal on metal. It reverberates across the park. You can get over it, but the thing that upsets me is the lack of follow-up from the city of Gaithersburg in maintenance and inspecting the success of the park. It was opened with great fanfare; we would rather get a stop sign than an $80,000 skate spot,” he said.
Tim Smith, Gaithersburg’s director of youth services, said he was aware of the downed sign and assigned crews to repair it.
“Unfortunately we get vandalized, not just at skate spots but ball fields and parks, too,” he said. “Am I happy about it? No. But it is not just a teen thing. It is an ongoing problem. Adults don’t pick up their trash either.”
Smith said a Parks and Recreation staff member is assigned to stop by the skate spot on evenings and weekends to monitor its usage. The spot is on the daily route for city clean-up crews also.
According to Sroka, the skate spot is incorporated in the regular patrol checks of the Kentlands and Lakelands area.
The downed sign included 13 rules for using the park including the requirements to wear a helmet and dispose of trash properly.
“I would love to find out who did this. We would definitely prosecute. I am not dismissing what was done, but I am not surprised by it,” Smith said.
Gaithersburg opened the Lakelands skate spot and another in Diamond Farm Park off Quince Orchard Boulevard in late June. Within the first week the skate spot was opened in Diamond Farm Park, that facility was marred with graffiti. The Department of Public Works was dispatched to remove it.