DPW: skateboarders are vandalizing downtown
BATON ROUGE - The city says they're having a problem with skateboarders vandalizing property downtown.
The Downtown Development District and the Department of Public Works says they plan to enforce an existing ordinance that prohibits skateboarding, bicycling, and roller skating on park structures.
"When it comes to tricks and things like that, that could damage the infrastructure that we're spending money on," said DPW Director David Guillory. "That's when it becomes an issue for the city-parish."
In Baton Rouge, it's already against the law for any person to use, operate or ride a skateboard, roller skates upon the grounds of Red Stick Plaza, Maritime Plaza, the Centroplex Plaza, the plaza of the Governmental Building, Baton Rouge City Court Building, Municipal Building and the east and west high-rise parking garages in the City of Baton Rouge.
There are "no skateboarding" signs posted around the Centroplex Plaza, where the city has seen a lot of damage from skateboarders.
"We want to make it easier for [police] to enforce the laws, regarding skateboarding and bicycling on public infrastructure," said Guillory. "These facilities weren't built for that."
People say they are familiar with the "no skateboarding" signs, but often disregard them because they're looking to street skate.
"Some of the best spots in Baton Rouge are downtown," said Jeremy Johnson. "They're just trying to go out and do what they love to do."
Skateboarders like Devin Chris say many skaters go downtown to practice, in the hopes of getting sponsored and making a career out of the sport.
"They want to see what you can do when stuff is not perfect and skate things different ways," said Chris. "You can't send people clips of the park becuase the park's perfect, it's meant to be skated."
Despite the signs and the rules, skaters say they likely won't change their routine.
"If they tell us to leave, we'll leave, we're not going to put up a fight if they tell us to leave their property," said Chris.
"They don't care," said Johnson. "Nobody's scared of security guards. Until a policeman steps in, it's not going to happen."
The ordinance change goes before Baton Rouge Metro City Council Wednesday.