MAPLEWOOD, NJ — When Luke Spoerel identified a problem in his town, he took advantage of his civic opportunity and spoke up at the Nov. 6 Township Committee meeting. 

The Jefferson Elementary School student came prepared with photos on a presentation board and voiced his opinion during the public comments portion of the meeting, concerning the crowded Maplecrest Park skate park. 

“My friends and I are of the belief that the skate park is starting to get very busy,” he said. “So many people are using it between camps, adults, teenagers, and kids.”

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But Spoerel, age 10, did not come just to complain. He offered a solution: “With the support of the Township Committee and funds from the Open Space Trust Fund, we can make the skate park bigger. There is enough room to add a pump track, more jumps, and rails. But most importantly we need the skate park to be bigger because there have been too many injuries when it is crowded. If there is more room people can spread out and it would be safer.

“The good news is that the skate park is for everyone. It is a gathering place for people of different backgrounds. The bad news is that it is too crowded. If the skate park were bigger, more people would be able to come.”

He also came prepared with support and a call to action. He gave the Committee a list of signatures from his school “of all the kids that agree that the skate park should be larger. Let’s get kids off screens and into the parks,” he said.

The Committee thanked him for the presentation and promised they would take it up for discussion.