Saturday, January 30, 2010

If You’re Looking for Fun: Don’t Come to Virginia Beach

I’ve lived here for eleven years.  Before that, I lived across the bay in Hampton and Newport News for about 30 years.  I used to think Virginia Beach was a cool place to live, and I believe that it once was just that.  But not anymore.

For years, the city has made a focused effort to close the biggest park in the city: Mount Trashmore Park, whenever it snows.  This is the only park in the city with hills large enough and tall enough to slide down when there’s snow.  Granted, we only get enough snow to actually slide on about once every 5 years or so.

Why is this?

Some say it is due to legal risk mitigation.

That can’t be logical, given the fact that they spent a fortune building a public skate park, on a concrete slab, within 50 yards of the hills at that same park.  If you spend fifteen minutes near that skate park on any given sunny day, you will absolutely see a barrage of kids face-planting into the concrete on an average of five second intervals.  Pads, helmets, regardless, they bruise and break elbows, knees, wrists and many don’t wear their helmets and hurt their heads as well.  So how could the city lawyers rationalize having such a skate park while not allowing you to slide down a big, smoothly sloped hill covered with snow?

Some say it is to protect the fine grass covering on the hills.

So, why then does the city sponsor a huge July 4th fireworks event? That event typically draws thousands of people to the park, who completely cover the main hill and all of the grounds nearby.  The grass was replanted back in 2003 as part of a huge, over-priced project, and then died within a year and remains brown almost year-round.

The real reason is fear.  The city is afraid of law suits.  So, my prediction is that they’ll stop doing the July 4th fireworks events there, and they’ll probably close the skate park soon.  Both of those could be sources of potential law suits, and we can’t have that here.  No no.  Fear is good.  Fun is bad.

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