Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Vandals strike at Hernando County's Stewy's Skate Park

This is one of several ramps at Stewy’s Skate Park hit with graffiti late Friday or early Saturday, county officials say.

Courtesy of Roy Link, Hernando County Parks maintenance supervisor

This is one of several ramps at Stewy’s Skate Park hit with graffiti late Friday or early Saturday, county officials say.

SPRING HILL — Hernando County Parks and Recreation workers will be spending much of the week completing repairs and cleanup after vandals broke into Stewy's Skate Park over the weekend and spray-painted graffiti throughout the facility.

Parks maintenance supervisor Roy Link said Tuesday that the vandals entered the fenced skate park, at Pioneer Park on Pine­hurst Drive, sometime Friday night or Saturday morning and wrote on walls, sidewalks and most of the skateboard ramps. Link estimated the damage at $800.

The skate park is closed while the repairs and cleanup continue.

"We're probably going to have to paint about 95 percent of the ramps," Link said. "They are pretty much a mess."

The incident remains under investigation by the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Link said that there has been a marked increase in vandalism since the county took over sole operation of the park in February. In March, park workers discovered that someone had broken into the concession stand, stolen items from inside and caused damage to the restroom. Damage from that incident was estimated at $1,000.

Once operated by a nonprofit entity that ran the concession stand and was responsible for opening and closing the skate park each day, the facility is now run by the county on a "skate at your own risk" basis. It is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Opened in 2003, the park was named in memory of Stewy Abramowicz, a 12-year-old Spring Hill skateboard enthusiast who in 2001 was struck and killed by a car while he was riding his scooter. For several years, Abramowicz's mother, Amber Costa, who spearheaded the effort to build the park, operated the concession stand through an agreement with the county.

After Costa's departure last year, the county contemplated closing the park because of budget concerns. But a citizen-run group called Save Stewy's Skate Park stepped in and formalized a concession and maintenance agreement with the county.

When the group pulled out in January after defaulting on its insurance, the county once again tried, but failed, to find anyone interested in taking over the operation.

Russ Wetherington, chief procurement officer for the county, said Tuesday that county Parks and Recreation officials intend to begin a new search in a couple of weeks to find a qualified person or business to reopen the concession stand.

"It would be nice to find someone who is really willing to put their heart into it," Wetherington said.

Meanwhile, Link said he expects to have Stewy's Skate Park reopened by the end of the week.

Logan Neill can be reached at lneill@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1435.

Vandals strike at Hernando County's Stewy's Skate Park 10/09/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 7:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Clearwater police fatally shoot suicidal man after threat at hotel

    Public Safety

    CLEARWATER — Police fatally shot a armed suicidal man who threatened officers at a hotel early Thursday morning.

  2. White nationalist Richard Spencer is scheduled to speak at the University of Florida tonight and the school is on high alert for tensions. [Associated Press]
  3. Bowen: Park land deal raises Penny for Pasco questions

    Environment

    The Penny for Pasco is unambiguous.

    At least it is supposed to be.

    There was no equivocating in 2004 when Penny for Pasco supporters detailed how the sales tax proceeds would be spent: schools, transportation, public safety and environmental lands. No money for parks. No money for recreation.

    Pasco County is considering a loan from its Environmental Lands Acquisition and Mangement Program to buy land for a park in the Villages of Pasadena Hills in east-central Pasco. Shown here is the Jumping Gully Preserve in Spring Hil, acquired by ELAMP in 2009 and 2011.
[Douglas R. Clifford, Times]
  4. Another Tampa Bay agency loses tax credits worth millions in dispute over application error

    News

    LARGO — Another Tampa Bay housing agency has lost out on a multi-million dollar tax credit award because of problems with its application.

    A duplex in Rainbow Village, a public housing complex in Largo. The Pinellas County Housing Authority is planning to build new affordable-housing in the complex but was recently disqualified from a state tax credit award because of an issue with its application.
  5. Live blog: Many unknowns as Richard Spencer speaks in Gainesville today

    College

    GAINESVILLE — A small army of law enforcement officers, many of them from cities and counties around the state, have converged on the University of Florida in preparation for today's speaking appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer.

    Florida Highway Patrol cruisers jammed the parking lot Wednesday at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville, part of a big show of force by law enforcement ahead of Thursday's appearance by white nationalist Richard Spencer. [KATHRYN VARN | Times]