October 26, 2014

Elyria
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Man sues Avon Lake to get skate park closed

Jake Lyman, 15, of Avon Lake practices his skateboarding skills at Weiss Park Skatepark on Wednesday. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Jake Lyman, 15, of Avon Lake practices his skateboarding skills at Weiss Park Skatepark on Wednesday. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

AVON LAKE — It was what James Pietrangelo II described as the “cacophonous noise” of a skate park near his house that caused him to file a lawsuit against the city on Wednesday, calling for the park to be closed.

“I had to sue for my safety,” Pietrangelo said, describing how he has been harassed by skaters at the park since he started calling police about the noise. “It’s a nightmare.”

The park in the east corner of Weiss Field was established almost eight years before Pietrangelo moved to the area. According to Avon Lake Mayor Greg Zilka, the city took care in determining the park’s location almost 10 years ago and discussed the park with people who lived in the area at the time.

“We try to respect the property rights of our residents,” Zilka said. However, he added, “If you’re going to purchase or rent an area, you need to be aware of your surroundings.”

Zilka said that since the park was established it has garnered some complaints from residents in the area. However, it was only in June that Pietrangelo, who lives across from the park on the 33300 block of Fairport Drive, started meeting with Zilka to address the problem.

For Pietrangelo, it is not only the noise, but alleged drug abuse, harassment from skaters and the lack of supervision for teenagers and children at the park, which prompted the complaints.

“It’s like watching a human train wreck,” Pietrangelo said.

Some of Pietrangelo’s neighbors agree with his complaints. Jean Groscost, who has lived on Fairport Drive since before the park was established, takes issue with the noise from the park and the people who come to skate.

“It brings the riffraff in,” Groscost said.

In response to the complaints, Zilka said that the city increased police presence in the area over the summer, hoping to keep the noise to a minimum.

“We fully understand that the park creates noise,” Zilka said, adding that following Pietrangelo’s complaints, the city set up more signs in the area stating the hours of the skate park as 8 a.m. to dusk.

However, according to Pietrangelo, the signs and increased police presence didn’t stop the noise, which he describes as a “cannon-like” rumbling.

“It’s like putting a Band-Aid over a gaping wound,” Pietrangelo said.

Not everyone takes issue with the park. For many members of Avon Lake, the park is a valuable resource.

Fifteen year-old skater Jake Lyman said for him, the skate park is a way to unwind.

“(Skating) expresses who I am without people judging me. If the park closes, where am I going to skate?” he said.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com.


  • Beth

    Noise? Anyone living near the airport should sue because the planes are too loud! Near a fire station? Sue because of the trucks. The kids in my neighborhood are loud all the time, should I sue their parents?
    I grew up in a city that didn’t have a skate park, all the skater kids were nuances around town and in the city parks.
    Let the kids have a skate park, put your big boy pants on and deal with it.

  • Jamie Smith

    Wow…..Bottom line is this man isn’t a nice person. I agree with the city he knew it was there when he moved in. Its very nice that Avon Lake has a skate park many other cities don’t. These 2 neighbors need to get over it. Is there anything the city can do to counter sue this man ??? I hope so. Good Luck City of Avon Lake and the skaters that use the park.

  • Ray Venn

    Lets close down all streets and take away everyone’s driving privileges because of the noise, pollution and accidents as well.

    Let’s close all factories that pollute or make noise.

    Let’s close all bars that serve liquor to drivers that get DUI’s or better yet, let’s just ban alcohol altogether.

    What a crybaby…oh wait.

    Let’s ban crybabies!!!

  • stop ur whining

    I wonder how the riff raff fin avon lake looks compared to the riff raff in lorain? this guy needs to put a lid on it. He moved in after the park was there, that alone means he needs to can it. Second, they are kids. Kids are always noisy and always will be. This reminds me of a complaint from citizen of elyria complaining about the smell coming from the sewage plant. These are the same people that purchased houses on crestview that happens to have the sewage treatment plant in their back yards. the common thread is that both parties knew exactly what they were getting when they moved in. This guy probably feels unsafe bc he has been bullying these kids and trying to shut down their outlet. Go ahead and close the park and see what that riff raff does to your city. Kids have short attention spans and use that park as an outlet. Take it away and see where their frustration gets aimed

  • Judy Offutt

    Keep taking things away from the kids and you will have more problems in stead of taking it away maybe have it checked by police more often . half the problem with our kids now a days is there is nothing for them to do !

    • matt

      yea everyone els in my grades doing drugs this is a place that im free.

  • rlm_Lorain

    Riff raff is riff raff, regardless of WHAT city they come from, and that comment is offensive and elitist. With that said, I have to agree with the other posters. This “gentleman” should have known about the park before he moved in. Complaining after the fact is self-serving and whiney.

    • stop ur whining

      i assure you that the undesirable in lorain and elyria are far less dangerous and scary than the undesirables in avon lake. that is not elitist, just a fact that is based on demographics and income levels. It is a fact that both cities have more crime and issues than avon lake. the fact that we are discussing a skate park being a nuisance proves my point. you think anyone in lorain and elyria would be coming down on the city for a park? of course not, they have more pressing issues to concern themselves with.

      • stop ur whining

        strike that. the riff raff in lorain and elyria and for more dangerous than avon lake. my bad…long day.

  • Jesus fan

    I think with all of these comments being said no matter what city, state or country we live in, if our kids are brought up right we shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Do people ever forget that they were once kids themselves did they ever cause any mischief? The problem with our society is that it is so easy to judge other people and bully them, then lookjng at ourselves are we perfect no. The only one who is perfect is the one who created us. Let’s stop sterotyping people and give them a chance. As long as they obey the laws and are out at dusk what are they hurting, leave these poor kids alone and let them be kids and give them a chance. At least they aren’t on the streets breaking into houses or cars. young kids need a chance in this troubled world, they need guidance and people to be there for them not against them. Save our kids.

  • Doug Hauser

    Alleged drug abuse??/ Alleged by who?? The man who wants to shut it down??? I have an idea…ask him to find a space in the city to move the skate park to that won’t bother anyone, and pay for it himself, and gift it to the city to replace the other space. I know…he won’t. But it predates him…if he doesn’t like it, he should move.

  • Americaschild

    Move. You should have looked before you bought. A park has horses, baseball diamonds, picnics, traffic and sometimes fireworks–move you old crab.

  • ClevelandBill

    Google this Mr. Pietrangelo. He loves his lawsuits.

  • Cat Sutfin

    There’s also baseball fields, a park for kids to play and pavillions for parties but only the skate park is the problem? Seems a little suspicious to me!

  • matt

    i guess the city will be give a lot more tickets to the street skaters now

  • Guest

    Hey um i’m a moron and just realized it minutes ago. I think skaters deserve everything they have now and maybe more.

  • 32259

    James E. Pietrangelo II sued the library, the City of Sandusky and two police officers last year in federal court in Toledo, alleging a civil rights violation, after an Oct. 28 incident in which he complained other that patrons using the computers were too noisy.

    In an ensuing confrontation, he refused a request by the library staff to leave and was escorted out by the two officers.

    U.S. District Judge James Carr threw out Pietrangelo’s lawsuit in June, dismissing it with prejudice, meaning that it can’t be refiled.

    He also found Pietrangelo in contempt of court for refusing to answer questions posed to him by the library’s lawyer, Cleveland attorney Margaret Koesel, even after Carr ordered Pietrangelo to answer the questions. Carr told Koesel to submit a bill to the court so that Pietrangelo can be made to pay court costs and fees.

  • Jesus fan

    Sorry to say it but this man has issues, if anybody should be watching out it should be the skaters because of him. He seems very unstable. Kids deserve to have a chance in this world people need to just give them that.

  • the man that will destroy him

    im going to find this man and beat on the park to be as noises as possible everyday to ruin his life

  • Dom Marconi

    I grew up at this skatepark. There are some kids who hang out there and cause nothing but trouble, but there are even more who go there to hone their skills and have a great time whether it be skating, biking, or scooter riding. If it weren’t for this skatepark, I would never have gotten good enough to become the professional rider that I am now. This park gets closed, and I will personally start a campaign to fund another skatepark.

  • Mott

    I don’t have an area for the neighbor kids to play so should I sue all of them for playing in the street and leaving their toys all over the place? Sounds like the riff-raff came to town when this guy moved in.