The gates are locked at the Pipeline Skate Park at midday Thursday, after Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Department announced the facility will be open limited hours until further notice due to an increase in vandalism and drug paraphernalia. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The gates are locked at the Pipeline Skate Park at midday Thursday, after Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Department announced the facility will be open limited hours until further notice due to an increase in vandalism and drug paraphernalia. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

City: Pipeline Skate Park open reduced hours due to ‘sharp increase’ of vandalism, drug activity

Extra patrols by police and parks staff also planned for facility at Jackie Renninger Park.

Zack Andrews says he’s been taking his 11-year-old son to the Pipeline Skate Park twice a week since July — and they typically spend 30 to 45 minutes cleaning and sweeping before skating — but their visit on Wednesday night was cut short by a security guard who told them the facility is now being locked up early.

“The security guard showed up and just said that he got an email that he was supposed to start closing at (8 p.m.) every day,” Andrews said in an interview Thursday.

The same information was shared Thursday by Juneau’s Parks and Recreation Department, which in a statement announced the hours at the skate park located on the grounds of Jackie Renninger Park will be open reduced hours from 3:30-8 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekends due to “a sharp increase in vandalism and drug paraphernalia litter on park grounds.”

“They’ve been seeing an increase in vandalism and just miscellaneous stuff for a little while now,” Juneau Police Department Lt. Krag Campbell said Thursday. “Since summer the bathrooms there at the skate park have been closed due to vandalism and in the past three months they’ve seen an uptick in needles inside the skate park. So I think based on that they don’t want their employees to have to be picking up sharp needles all the time.”

A sign inside the Pipeline Skate Park warns skateboarders about the consequences of vandalism, which were enacted on Thursday when the Juneau Parks and Recreation Department announced the hours at the skateboard park are being restricted until further notice. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A sign inside the Pipeline Skate Park warns skateboarders about the consequences of vandalism, which were enacted on Thursday when the Juneau Parks and Recreation Department announced the hours at the skateboard park are being restricted until further notice. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The previous hours were daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. October through April. The city’s announcement also states parks staff and police will also be conducting extra patrols at the park.

“We hope to return to normal hours as soon as sanitation and safety for park users is improved,” the statement adds.

Andrews said he’s been skateboarding for decades, and now goes with his son as an instructional experience as well as not wanting the youth at the park alone.

“I don’t feel comfortable with it,” he said, noting there have been encounters with suspicious or disruptive persons. “I don’t even feel comfortable when I’m there with him.”

The interior of the Pipeline Skate Park shortly after opening at 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Zack Andrews, a longtime skateboarder who says he now brings his 11-year-old son to the skateboard park weekly, said typically they spend 30 to 45 minutes cleaning and sweeping the interior before skating. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The interior of the Pipeline Skate Park shortly after opening at 3:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Zack Andrews, a longtime skateboarder who says he now brings his 11-year-old son to the skateboard park weekly, said typically they spend 30 to 45 minutes cleaning and sweeping the interior before skating. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The interior walls of the skate park are abundant with graffiti, which Andrews said is mostly not a concern “because it’s always kind of been there. It’s kind of the skateboard theme.” However, “more recently somebody’s been drawing vulgar stuff.”

The bigger concern, Andrews said is drug paraphernalia that some skateboarders have come across, including his son who found some burned tinfoil possibly used for drug-related activity on Wednesday night.

Cleaning the facility before skateboarding isn’t a bothersome chore when it involves sweeping away dirt and dust that clog up wheels, Andrews said. But that has also gotten worse in recent months.

“Last night we had to sweep up, but it looked like cereal that was all over that was like a Reese’s puff cereal, as well as the tinfoil and stuff,” he said.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Graffiti and damage to an upper part of the Pipeline Skate Park observed at midday Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Graffiti and damage to an upper part of the Pipeline Skate Park observed at midday Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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