- Associated Press - Saturday, January 14, 2017

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) - Users of a Cedar Falls skate park have an ax to grind over plans to close the 15-year-old park later this year to make room for a sanitary sewer replacement project.

City officials have said they are open to replacing or moving the park, but are seeking reassurance that it won’t continue to be a haven for vandals, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (http://bit.ly/2j8lVEr ).

The massive Dry Run Creek sewer project is prompting the city to close the park, but officials say it may be open for months until the project’s next phase begins.

“The skate park is the most vandalized facility in the Cedar Falls park system at this time,” said Mark Ripplinger, the city’s director of municipal operations and programs.

But regular users of the park say they’re not the ones spray-painting structures, overturning portable toilets and damaging vending machines. Skateboarders, rollerbladers and BMX riders are among those who use the park.

“We take care of the park,” said Kyle Rausch, a park user who lives in Waterloo. “We look out for each other. It’s other people who cause the vandalism.”

Park proponents are asking the city to work with them to save the park and have started a Facebook page, Relocation of Cedar Falls Skate Park, to gather support.

“We’re trying to rally the people inside the action sports community to get behind this,” Rausch said. “A lot of people use this park, and it’s a big part of our community, and we don’t want it to be overlooked.”

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com

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