Southaven skate park suddenly torn down due to troubles

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SOUTHAVEN, Miss. — Southaven's Board of Aldermen voted to tear down a skate park on Rasco Road, and within 24 hours workers had dismantled ramps and put a fence around the property.

City leaders voted April 2 to shut down the skate park after complaints of extreme vulgarity, sexual activity and vandalism.

The closure came as a surprise to Tony Burks who works nearby. "One day I came through here, and I saw some work vehicles there that I thought was just parking. It's almost like the next day everything was gone."

Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite said problems at the park, "became harmful for the area and the city." In an email the mayor said the shut down was unavoidable.

But Burks says he can't recall ever seeing any problems at the park. "Most of the time I've seen kids of all ages. I'm talking about from grown ups to little bitty kids," he said.

A petition drive started by a 16-year-old BMX rider to get Southaven to create a new skate park is gaining support on Change.org. Jarrett Peterson says he spent most of his time at the park riding his bike and, "I've met many of my closest friends at the skate park. It continued to  have a positive impact on me until it was taken from us in a matter of hours."

Kevin Faulkner, who lives nearby, admits there probably were a few "bad apples" causing problems there, but he says there needs to be something here besides a vacant lot.

"They gonna remove that. They need to put a basketball court, a volleyball court, something for the kids. Something for the kids to do."

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