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SKATING BAN PROMPTS A PINT-SIZE BACKLASH

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This city's recently enacted ban against skating on city property led to a pint-size backlash by pre-teen boys Wednesday.

Tyler Tilman and Riley Leifson stood up before the City Council to discuss the ban, which they characterized as "dumb."Mayor Marie Huff was sympathetic after scolding them about wearing their roller blades into City Hall but offered no solutions.

"We understand your problems," she said. "We're trying to find a solution. We're not turning a deaf ear."

Huff told the boys she admired them for appearing before the council, while ad-mit-ting that as far as skating is concerned "nobody wants you anywhere."

Tilman said the city had parks for baseball and other sports and asked why the city couldn't build a skating park. But they were told that liability concerns prevented it.

"The whole problem is the liability," said Councilman Rex Woodhouse. "You have to have liability insurance. We looked at it a year and a half ago, but the insurance (costs) wouldn't allow it," he said.

Tilman said businessman Fred Barber gave the boys $200 and space on his property toward developing a place to skate, but Tilman said he needed to raise more. Barber could not be reached for comment.

City Engineer Richard Heaps said skaters have damaged city property in the past, including crashing through the glass door at the city library.