Monitoring Cameras Still Haven't Been Installed At Two-year-old Skateboard Park

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Recreation

Chatham's skateboard park located at Volunteer Park. The park is now two years old but video monitoring cameras that were supposed to be part of the security system have yet to be installed. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CHATHAM – When the town's skateboard park had to relocated from the airport property, a number of locations were considered; one of the criteria was visibility. The old park was along busy George Ryder Road and right across the street from the police department.

When Volunteer Park, off Sam Ryder Road, was chosen as the new skate park location, there were concerns about whether it met that visibility criteria. To ensure proper supervision of the facility, the town decided to hire a monitor during the busiest summer months, and to install video monitoring equipment to provide oversight at other times.

The park was completed three years ago. Two years ago the community center installed new video monitoring equipment with the capability of adding the skateboard park. Since the park and recreation department, which oversees Volunteer Park, is also in charge of the community center, it made sense to have the skateboard park be monitored from its front desk.

Those cameras, however, have yet to be installed.

According to Park and Recreation Director Dan Tobin, cable has been placed along the Old Colony Rail Trail to the park. The cable will also serve the wastewater treatment plant slightly farther along the bike path.

The plan, Tobin said, is to mount three cameras on utility poles at the skateboard park.

When that gets done, however, is out of his hands. It's up to the town's information technology department, he said. The Chronicle received no response to an email and phone message left for Information Technology Director Craig Rowe.

Tobin said there were no incidents this summer at the park, where a monitor is stationed about five hours a day. There has been no vandalism at the park or noise complaints from neighbors; he said the concrete construction of the park makes it quieter than the previous park, which had wooden ramps.

“Feedback on the park has generally been positive,” he said. “It's got a broad base of support,” from local grandparents who bring their visiting grandchildren to the park to serious skaters who come from all over the Cape to use the facility.

Nonetheless, Tobin said he thought surveillance cameras would be beneficial in case there is an incident at the park. The system in use at the community center, which the skateboard park cameras would be tied into, can retain video for 30 or more days.

Although the cameras have yet to be funded, Tobin said getting them in place shouldn't be a big project, with the cable connection already in place.