Toms River is a big place, with a lot of amenities, but no skate park.
A group of and their supporters have been building momentum and organizing their efforts to have the township explore the idea of building a skate park in Toms River.
"It can be safe, secure and cost effective," said Bernard Viggiani, an East Dover resident. "It doesn't have to be a liability."
Viggiani said his son, Lee Viggiani, and other skaters in Toms River lack a place to go to enjoy the sport they love so much.
Wondering why Toms River had never built a skate park, the Viggianis began building a community of supporters — many of whom are local students and skaters — to push for the idea.
They presented a petition with signatures to the Toms River Recreation Committee, hoping the committee would put a skate park on of possible projects. The poll, available online, asks residents what recreation services they'd like to see in town.
With the votes of the skate park supporters, the idea of a skate park has surged in the poll, and is a top vote getter along with an indoor tennis facility and spray park.
"The response has been amazing," Viggiani said. "A lot of people have come forward — mostly teenagers, youth — who want to see this happen."
While the Recreation Committee accepted the group's petitions at its April meeting, the committee also said it's an idea that was explored before but never fully pursued due to liability.
Elsewhere in Ocean County, townships such as Jackson and Polnt Pleasant have opened and shuttered their skate parks, off and on, to address issues with the facilities. Lacey also has a skate park that seems to be thriving, Viggiani said, and he said having a model facility could be possible for Toms River.
The recreation committee obliged the skate park suppporters, putting the idea of a skate park on the online poll found on the township website, here.
The supporters, calling themselves the “Intensity Skate Crew,” came out to a May Recreation Committee meeting advertised on the township website that turned out to be canceled. The crew brought approximately 25 supporters hoping to continue their momentum for the skate park.
With a meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight, June 4, in town hall, the supporters again are planning to attend the recreation committee meeting to keep their ideas in the discussion.
The Intensity Skate Crew have created flyers to hang around town, and have a website to further organize its efforts, here.
The Viggianis said they are simply hoping the township explore the idea, and they are willing to help by showing there's a dedicated community of skateboarders who have a demand for a park. They've compiled research of how other towns have succeeded in creating a skate park that is safe, secure and cost efficient.
"A properly planned, well constructed and carefully located Skate Park is a Town's most cost effective form of active sports recreation. Some school districts even have Skateboarding as part of their Physical Education Curriculum. Some towns even run Skate Clinics and sponsor events," said the Intensity Skate Crew's literature "In Toms River we just get chased from one location to another. It’s time to 'change' that."