Coulston: Trash problem will end, or skate park will close

Published 1:34 am Tuesday, April 15, 2003

By By JAN GRIFFEY / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Niles City Council members applauded the work of Neil Coulston, the city's public works director, and other city workers for their tremendous effort in bringing the Niles skate park project to a reality.
The park has attracted countless young people from the city and beyond, a delight for those who worked so hard to provide them a place to practice their skateboarding skills.
However, this morning, Coulston's ritual of stopping at the skate park before arriving at work left him with only a feeling of disappointment.
What greated him was an unkept, trashy mess, left behind by ungrateful young people who used the park but were not considerate enough to clean up after themselves.
That's going to stop immediately, Coulston said, or the park will be closed.
Coulston personally has been policing the area each morning, but the problem is worsening and said "that practice is about to end."
He warned that continued abuse of the park will result in its closure.
He said if he again finds such a serious trash problem at the park, "the park will be closed until park users volunteer to clean it up."
Coulston said if he visits the park on Wednesday morning and finds it full of trash, he will post a sign stating the park is closed, the reason for the closing, and ask that anyone interested in meeting with him to clean it up contact him at his City Hall office.
If he finds trash at the park on Wednesday morning, "at any rate, the park will be closed until Wednesday evening at the earliest."
If the problem persists, he said, the park will be closed for even longer periods of time in the future.
In addition to problems with trash, Coulston said there has also been a problem with BMX bike riders using the skate park.
No other serious problems at the park have been reported to police, Coulston said.
He said he is optimistic that the problem will be resolved and users will take better care of the park in the future. He said the facility has already attracted users from Michigan City, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and all communities in the Michiana area, as well.