CORNELIA - A number of skateboarders turned out for Tuesday night's Cornelia City Commission meeting after reading about damage to a Cornelia park they feel was blamed on them.
Jimmy Tackett, 18, said he and other skateboarders worked too hard to get a skate park in the city, and they want to help find the person(s) responsible for the damage caused recently at the Margaret Ballard Spray Park near the Cornelia Depot.
Cornelia City Manager Donald Anderson said last week a bench at the front of the spray park has been chipped and damaged by what he believes was a skateboard.
Tackett, who said he has a child he wants to be able to use the spray park as she grows up, showed Anderson and commissioners how he believes the damage happened.
Anderson reminded Tackett there is a $100 reward for information leading to the person responsible for the park damage.
"I brought some of the finest skateboarders in Cornelia with me today to show that we care," Tackett said.
Tackett said based on his own investigation of the damage, he doesn't believe it was caused by skateboarders. He said damage such as that sustained by the bench likely was caused by bicycles.
"So you're saying a bicyclist is the one that's jumping up there and cracking the edges off?" Anderson asked.
Tackett said that's his belief.
"You've got to understnd our first instinct was skateboarders because the depot was always covered up with skateboarders," Anderson told Tackett. "We just spent a bunch of money on this [splash park bench], and to find out two months after it opened this is basically ruined and is going to have to be replaced."
"I don't think it was a skateboarder," Tackett told Anderson.
Anderson said anyone who witnesses someone bicycling or skateboarding in the area of the Margaret Ballard Splash Park is asked to report it through 9-1-1 immediately.
Anyone with information about who might have caused the damage should call Cornelia Police Department at (706) 778-4314. The city is offering a $100 reward.