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Concerns about Oneida Skate Park location raised

Councilman Donald Moore (D -- Ward 5) insisted last week that the Oneida Common Council take action to move the city's skate park project forward. The latest holdup was that the proposed temporary site in Vet's Field Park was unsuitable due to its proximity to a residential area.

"It is at the corner of Phelps, Messenger and Cedar streets across from Gremlin Medical Supply," said Parks and Recreation Director Brandon Lovett.

The new site is raising eyebrows now because it is situated among three Phelps Street adult beverage businesses: Bec's Ivy Grill and Dunn's are immediately adjacent to the park-to-be and Barbano's Liquor Store is just up the block.

Bec's proprietor Terry Karst said he is glad a decision finally has been made.

"This is a good thing the city is doing, and it's something we've needed for the kids for some time," Karst said.

He said he worries what problems might arise from parents getting upset about their children seeing people smoking across the street on the sidewalk in front of his place.

The city will install a 441-foot-long, six-foot-high chain-link fence during the next two to three weeks. Lovett said the fence is less to keep people out than it is to keep the equipment in, and suggested the council approve a PVC-coated product that will be more aesthetically pleasing.

"A four- or six-foot fence people would still be able to jump over it," Lovett said. "It's really to prevent people from taking equipment out of the park. I had hoped to do an ornamental fence, but the cost is prohibitive."

Lovett said he recommended an additional security step of lagging down the equipment -- affixing it to the pavement -- as an extra measure of protection.

City Engineer Jim Bacher earned some laughs when he joked that he recommended Invisible Fence, complete with electro-shock accessories.

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