Skateboarders upset Lakeland park is closing earlier

LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Lakeland city leaders want to close a problematic skate park two hours earlier each night. That’s not going over well with skateboarders.

Sixteen-year-old skateboarder Tyler Wolford uses the Lakeland Skate Park regularly. He doesn’t like the recent changes in park’s operating hours.

“I stay here very late a lot because my mom gets off work late, so I don’t know what I am going to do. She gets off at 10 so I don’t what I am going to do for the other two hours,” Wolford said.

Lakeland Skate Park

But city leaders claim they had no choice. Lakeland police have made several drug arrests in the park.

Plus, some skateboarders are refusing to leave at closing time.

“We are having to make this rule for the one percent that we asked to leave. They are not leaving or if they do they are belligerent. They are turning over garbage cans,” Kevin Cook with the City of Lakeland said.

Justin Spangler is a founding member of the Skater’s Alliance. He met with city officials.

Spangler is aware of the problem. “Some of these issues have been addressed before. Things have gotten better, than they got worse again, and honestly I see where the city is coming from when they say they are exhausted trying to deal with some of these issues.”

Wolford and other skateboarders just hope the bad apples don’t ruin it for everyone.

“Hopefully we can bring it back to the original time. It is not a sketchy place. It’s a really good place. There is a lot more good people than bad,” he said.

City leaders say they will wait and see what kind of impact the earlier closing hours have on the number of incidents here at the park before they make any decision on changing the hours back.

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