TOMS RIVER – If resident Robert Affa wants to take his kids skateboarding, he can’t do it in Toms River.
Instead, the 41–year–old native usually travels 31 long miles to Long Branch and 31 miles back.
Affa was one of two residents who spoke at the Oct. 10 Toms River Council meeting to ask again that township officials consider putting in a skate park in Toms River, which is the county seat.
“We skate four to five times a week on a slow week,” he said, pointing to his son Luca and Luca’s friend. Both boys toted skateboards up to the public microphone.
And Long Branch, not Toms River, gets the benefit of the money Affa and others spend to use the Long Branch skatepark. It’s money that could be spent in Toms River if there was a skatepark, he said.
“We eat in other towns, we shop in other towns,” he said. “The need is there. They don’t have a place to legally play this sport. People that play this sport need a place to go.”
Affa also noted that Brick, Berkeley, Jackson township and Point Pleasant already have skateparks.
He was not the only person at the meeting who spoke of the need for a Toms River skatepark.
Anthony Devecka, who spoke at the Sept. 27 council meeting, brought a petition to the Oct. 10 meeting with 34 pages of signatures from people who want a facility built.
“I think that shows quite a bit of demand for it,” he said.
Even the fact that people are forbidden from using public areas to for skateboards shows there’s a need for it, he said.
“People here have been waiting for it,” Devecka said to applause.
Councilman George Wittmann, Jr. said at the Sept. 27 meeting that Devecka was the first person to ask for the facility. Wittmann said building a skatepark comes down to a question of need.
Wittman had also said that a skatepark should be located in an area where children don’t have to be driven.