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Wasatch County skate park closed ‘indefinitely’ after repeated vandalism

Parks and Recreation has closed the skate park indefinitely.
Wasatch County Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation has closed the skate park indefinitely.

Wasatch County Parks and Recreation has shut down its popular skate park after repeated acts of vandalism. Police have some leads on possible suspects.

The skate park on 100 South has been a target for graffiti and vandalism before, but Parks and Recreation assistant director Heath Coleman said the problem has gotten worse lately.

“The last year or 18 months, we’ve seen major destruction,” he said. “Sinks and urinals and toilets being destroyed and crushed, all our partitions ripped off the walls and bent and broken. We’ve had multiple fires in there.”

He said drug use, fighting and bullying have been recent issues at the park too.

The tipping point came last Friday, April 19, when the park reopened its restrooms after another round of renovations. But within 24 hours, the bathrooms were vandalized again.

“We arrived to close this facility down until further notice because we’re just not going to put up with this anymore,” Coleman said.

He said repairs and labor invested in the park are worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Parks and Recreation is working with Heber City Police to find those responsible for the damage. They suspect it’s mostly 12- to 16-year-old kids.

“Within two hours of us closing that facility, the names came forward anonymously,” Coleman said. “There’s quite a long list of names that Heber City PD has.”

And Heber Police Sgt. Josh Weishar said the community is welcome to share additional tips with the department.

But not everyone in the community agrees the response matches the problem. Kreed Frentheway has been biking at the park for years and said the skaters and riders aren’t the ones causing trouble.

“Usually kids that are at the skate park are working on progressing and challenging themselves and having fun,” he said. “So I just think it’s pretty unjust and unfair.”

Frentheway said he’s always had positive experiences at the park.

“I’ve been riding that skate park ever since it was built, and it’s always been a very healthy outlet for me,” he said. “Growing up, it was one of the very few things to do in this town.”

He said he doesn’t want to see that space taken away because of a few people’s bad behavior.

Coleman said Parks and Recreation doesn’t want to keep the skate park closed forever. The department will host a community meeting May 1 to discuss their concerns and connect with residents. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the recreation center on 600 South.