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July 4, 2013

Long boarders given OK to use Archealaus Hill Road

WEST NEWBURY — Teens looking to use Archealaus Hill Road for summertime recreation and exercise won’t meet with any objections from town leaders.

About 10 local long boarders attended a selectmen’s meeting this week to address recent concerns about the activity raised by the road’s residents to police Chief Lisa Holmes and Public Works Director Gary Bill.

Holmes and Bill told selectmen the neighbors complained that upwards of 25 teenagers on long boards — a variation of a skateboard — are causing a nuisance by gathering on their street and riding down the four-tenths-mile steep incline on their boards. The residents feared the potential for traffic accidents, littering, road damage and loitering.

But Holmes said she has only ever witnessed around half a dozen riders at one time on the street and told selectmen that the boys were “very polite” when she spoke to them about the neighbors concerns.

Bill acknowledged that the long board wheels leave temporary marks on the roadway but said town property is not being damaged by the activity.

“It doesn’t look great but it’s not going to ruin the road,” he said. Like Holmes, he found the kids to be polite and attentive when he spoke to them about picking up their trash before they leave the area.

Selectmen concluded that as long as participants were respectful of private property, wore proper safety equipment, yielded to traffic and cleaned up after themselves, the activity was fine.

Selectman Glenn Kemper noted that in rural communities, like West Newbury, long boards are a mode of transportation for some kids. He felt that the plethora of bikers who use town roadways posed more of a hazard than skateboarders and long boarders did. He suggested using Community Preservation Act funds to build a park for the activity in the future.

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