Veterans protested the inclusion of a skate park in Phase II of the Veterans Park design.
Skateboarders and skate enthusiasts begged for the park, saying it had been postponed long enough.
While Town Councilors said they still thought the best place in town for the skate park was at the proposed location, they voted to approve the item agenda accepting the current design minus the skate park.
"I see bocce courts, horseshoe pits and exercise areas which are OK but it's not OK to have the skate park here? Something is not right about that," Councilor Bill Rasmussen said.
"If we set the bar so low, that is what the kids will rise to," Deputy Mayor Rachel Rochette said. "We need to serve all citizens, that includes kids who skateboard."
Mayor Adam Salina was very gruff when talking about the project.
"We have looked at several locations and with the buffer I think this is the best location," Salina said. "There is a gas station there, sidewalks and nearby shopping. But this has become a lightning rod in town. If you are for the skate park, you are against veterans. There has been no in between. With the scrutiny the kids would be under if we built the skate park at this location I don't think it would be enjoyable for them.
"It got to the point where a veteran sent out a blast e-mail claiming that there was vandalism of broken bricks at the Park. When I talked to (Veterans Commission Chairman) Tom Chesery, he told me the bricks were just placeholders and nobody vandalized the Park. The locations has too many negative connotations and has become toxic."
Salina said he hoped the veterans and residents realized that the skate park could have been built with state grant money at that spot, with no cost to the public. Now that it will go to another spot, the town could face spending as much as $100,000 to build it.
"I hope this is not the end of the skate park based on some unfounded misconceptions about skateboarders," Salina added.
Councilor David Evans said he hoped this was not the end of the skate park but that another location in town would be more appropriate.
Councilor Eric Buhrendorf said he was a skateboarder when he was younger and also hoped the town could find a spot to accommodate the park.
Parks and Recreation Director Len Zielinski spoke during the audience of citizens and asked the council to not act on the agenda item and ask for more detail on the Phase II plan.
"We have tried everything in this town to get this skate park built and the Veterans organizations in this town have the ability to get it built," Zielinski said. "The town has been very generous to the veterans with donating space to them. I would like to see them take that into consideration. This is not Arlington or Normandy. I would ask you to put it on hold so we can look into it further."
The Council voted 5-2 to approve the Phase II plan to move ahead minus the skate park by a 5-2 vote. Rasmussen and Will Watson voted against the agenda item.