A skate park on Peaks Island that was constructed three years ago without proper permits and in violation of a conservation easement is coming down, leading some island residents to wonder what’s the harm in letting it stay.

Portland spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said the city will remove the skate park next week as part of an agreement with the Peaks Island Land Preserve, a nonprofit that holds the 2001 easement prohibiting permanent structures on the city-owned land near Battery Steele, a World War II-era fort.

John Whitman, president of the land preserve’s board of directors, takes no pleasure in seeing the skate park removed, but said the group has a responsibility to act as steward of the land.

“My son was an avid skateboarder as a teen, not that long ago, but we have to do our job,” he said.

Some on the island, though, are questioning why the park on the eastern end of Brackett Avenue needs to be removed, especially since it’s not hindering any development or blocking any transfer of land.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” said Joan Blake, who lives just down the road from the park. “I don’t know why people keep bitching. It’s hard enough for a teenager living on an island. Why would you want to take something like this away?”

The skate park was built in 2012, largely by Jackman Wood, a lifelong island resident, and some of his friends. Wood said the park grew out of their frustration over the lack of action by the city and Peaks Island officials to provide a place for residents to skate.

“We were supposed to have a legal park built. There was fundraising and even a piece of land identified, but it just didn’t happen,” he said. “So I just decided to do this.”

Wood found an existing slab of concrete along Brackett Avenue, which bisects the island from west to east, and used concrete to build ramps and other obstacles on top of it.

Townspeople said there always has been a bit of mild friction about where young people should be skating.

Peaks Island has about 850 year-round residents, the largest population of the islands in Casco Bay. Despite attempts in previous years to secede, the island is still governed by the city of Portland.

The city reached a deal with the land preserve on April 16 to remove the skate park’s ramps at a cost of $500. The city will contribute the $500 toward construction of a new park elsewhere on the island, Grondin said.

The agreement between the city and the preserve lists Sept. 30 as the deadline for removing the park, which has some asking why it’s being taken down now.

“There seems to be this pressure, but I’m not sure where it’s coming from,” said Rob Lieber, who lives near the park. “I like seeing the kids out there.”

Grondin said the city is removing the ramps next week because that’s when staff members will be available.

Whitman, with the land preserve, said construction of the skate park happened quickly, and quietly, leaving board members no time to assess what was happening.

“Over time it has turned into a political issue. Nobody wants to take away a teenage recreation area,” he said. “And I’m sure it never occurred to them that there was an easement on this land. I’m sure they thought it was fair game.”

Wood understands why the city needs to tear down the park, but he always thought it would remain standing until another one was built, something he’s not sure will ever happen.

“It’s unfortunate,” Wood said. “I put a lot of time and effort into it and people enjoy it.”

Wood said he has even been hired by other Maine towns to help construct skate parks.

Gary Fox, the park’s closest neighbor and a teacher at Portland High School, sees no reason for the city to tear it down.

A previous president of the land preserve board, he understands the organization’s position, but said it is caving in to the complaints of a few.

“I think some summer person complained and the city decided to just tear it down,” he said. “That’s too bad.”

Sharoan Cohen, who has two sons who once used the park, said her biggest problem with the park was that it lacked a clock to let kids know when it was time to go home for dinner.

“I feel like (the park) should be grandfathered in,” she said.

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