Tuesday, December 10, 2013
ANSON — Susanne Lamb has unlocked the gate of the Damon's Dream Memorial Skate Park near her house every day since the park opened in 2006. Every evening at dusk, she went back to lock it.
Suzanne Lamb at the Damon Memorial Skateboard Park at the Garret Schenck School in Anson. Lamb helped raise money for the park named after her son, Damon Lasley, who died in 2004.
Staff file photo by David Leaming
For the last seven years, Lamb has tended to the park, built in memory of her son, Damon Lasley, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2004.
Last week her routine changed when the park closed because, Lamb said, her family doesn't have the money to make necessary repairs to keep it safe.
"It's run its course. Definitely over the years, several skaters have enjoyed themselves, and I've enjoyed watching them," said Lamb, 42.
Damon Lasley died after his dirt bike collided with another motorcycle on U.S. Route 201A in June 2004, shortly after he finished eighth grade at Garrett Schenck School.
Lamb, along with other relatives and friends of Damon, petitioned the school board after his death to use an abandoned tennis court where Damon and his friends sometimes skateboarded to build a skate park for the community.
The town of Anson agreed to lease them the land for $1 a year, Lamb said.
"It was great to see his favorite spot become his dream skate park. It was a good thing," said Jacob Sincyr, 23, of Anson, a childhood friend of Damon's.
Sincyr, who is now a white-water rafting guide at North Country Rivers in Bingham, said he used to skateboard with Lasley at the old tennis court.
When Damon died, he said, he helped raise money to buy equipment for the skate park. One fundraiser was a voluntary toll collection on the bridge between Madison and Anson that raised $1,200 in one day, Lamb said.
Young people in Anson used the park frequently, and Sincyr said he noticed less crime when the skate park was there.
"Growing up here, there's not much for kids to do. When the skate park was there, there was always somebody using it. I think kids would be too tired to get into trouble after skating all day," he said.
Justin Cummings, 23, another friend of Damon's, who now lives in Florida, said he wasn't surprised to hear the skate park was closing.
"It wasn't meant to stay there forever. We got what we needed out of it," he said. Cummings said the park helped him get through the grieving process, and he hopes the space can be used for something else now. Many of Damon's friends who helped build the park and used it have grown up and moved away, he said.
"Building a skate park there was something Damon talked about for a long time. It meant a lot that we were able to do it in his memory," he said.
Lamb said the equipment, which included ramps and a mini-half-pipe, was bought secondhand and expected to last only five to 10 years.
Maine's winter weather has worn down the wood, and it is no longer safe to use, she said.
Anson administrative assistant Bob Worthley said he hasn't been approached by anyone about a new plan for the park.
"It was really a community effort to put the park together, and I'd like to see it used for something good," Lamb said.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368