SCOTIA – About a year to the date that 12-year-old Oliver Talbot and 11-year-old Sheila Marino spoke in front of village officials with a petition to allow for skateboarding on Scotia’s streets and sidewalks, a new law has been introduced to allow such action.
“It’s cool,” Talbot and Marino said.
Village Trustee Justin Cook, who was an avid rollerblader as a kid and has supported Talbot and Marino along the way, was ecstatic to introduce the law to allow for skateboarding at the village’s meeting on Wednesday.
“We’re adopting safe skate guidelines that align with other municipalities in upstate New York and throughout New York,” he said.
For Talbot, skateboarding is an outlet to cope with his anxiety. He began skateboarding when he was around 8 years old, and now rides an electric skateboard.
Marino said she had asked for a skateboard for her birthday just looking to try it out, and now loves riding.
“I’m not actually good at any tricks yet,” she said.
While the two kids were a little shy about getting the proposed law in front of village officials, their parents were inspired.
“I admire her,” said Mary Marino. “I’m impressed by her initiative.”
She said once her daughter sets her mind to something she goes after.
Talbot’s parents, one of whom is running in the village’s Democratic primary for mayor, were delighted to see him take charge and even get up and speak before officials. Kim Talbot said she was a proud mother.
“They learned the proper way to make change and then made that change,” she said.
Kim Talbot also said it was great seeing the community support they got.
This law follows the latest attempts by people and municipalities to create spaces to skateboard.
Most recently, the Saratoga Springs City Council approved an additional $140,000 in funding to complement the already $256,000 it approved last August to update its skate park, which is the oldest public skate park in the state. Another around $70,000 will come from crowdfunding.
In Schenectady, Mayor Gary McCarthy has said he will work to create a skate park in the city after a group made a makeshift skate park on the old tennis courts in Riverside Park that raised liability concerns.
Jacob Koehler, the owner of Town & Country Skateboards, said he’s still figuring out all the details, but is willing to form the LLC and cover the necessary insurance costs in order to maintain the Riverside Park skating facility, which he said is in the perfect location and holds a special place in the hearts of all those who use it.
Talbot said Koehler has also been supportive of his and Marino’s efforts in Scotia, where his store is based.
The two kids said once the law is passed in Scotia they want to work with local organizations and businesses to create a skate park.
A public hearing regarding the new law will be held July 13 at 7 p.m.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @SB_DailyGazette.