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Leechburg father envisions bike, skate park as tribute to his son

Bill Shirley | For The Valley News Dispatch - Anthony Guerrera, left, wanted to do something in memory of his son, who died in October at age of 31. He proposes using the old tennis courts near the football field in Leechburg as a place for kids to ride their skateboards. He's shown with Leechburg Moose members Josh Wright, a potential park designer, and Dan Ulmer, lodge governor. This photo was taken Dec. 7, 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Bill Shirley  |  For The Valley News Dispatch</em></div>Anthony Guerrera, left, wanted to do something in memory of his son, who died in October at age of 31. He proposes using the old tennis courts near the football field in Leechburg as a place for kids to ride their skateboards. He's shown with Leechburg Moose members Josh Wright, a potential park designer, and Dan Ulmer, lodge governor. This photo was taken Dec. 7, 2012.
- David Guerrera
David Guerrera
Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 12:56 a.m.
 

A father's desire to do something in memory of his son could benefit Leechburg kids into skateboarding and bike riding.

The Leechburg Moose Family Center has pitched to borough council turning an old tennis court near Veterans Field into a bike and skate park.

The idea came from Anthony Guerrera, a Leechburg resident who owns a carpet-cleaning business in Vandergrift.

His son, David Guerrera, died tragically Oct. 28. David, 31, was a 1999 Kiski Area High School graduate who lived in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Guerrera said he wants to do something for his son and the children of Leechburg. The idea for the park came from some of his employees, who he said ride bikes and skateboards and have been kicked out of different areas of the borough.

“Within two weeks after his passing, I kind of wanted to do something,” he said. “That was my feeling — to do something in his name so the younger kids in Leechburg have some place to go.”

He took the bike and skate park idea to the Moose, which he thinks has the ability to make it happen.

A donation from Guerrera would go toward it, and the Moose would cover the rest, said Dan Ulmer, governor of the Leechburg Moose Family Center.

Envisioned as an outdoor facility open in daylight hours, the park would be maintained by the Moose, Ulmer said.

“Kids are not allowed to ride anywhere in town. They're always getting in trouble for riding on people's property,” Ulmer said. “This would be a good place for them to do that and not get in trouble. These kids have nothing to do around here. With nothing to do usually comes problems.”

Complaints about skateboarders are common in the summer, police Chief Mike Diebold said.

A borough ordinance forbids skateboarding on any borough property, sidewalks or streets.

“Pretty much any place the kids would want to skateboard you're not allowed to be at,” Diebold said.

A place for kids to skateboard would be a good thing, the chief added.

“I think it would be a good idea, as long as it's well-maintained, respected and supervised a little bit,” he said.

How much the park would cost to build is not yet known, Ulmer said.

With Ulmer saying everything is in place for the park to be created, whether it happens rests on the question of insurance.

The Moose have asked the borough to cover that.

Whether the borough agrees depends how much insuring the park would cost, council President Tony Defilippi said. The borough's budget is “very tight,” he said.

Defilippi said he'd also want to know if any residents living in that area have any concerns about it.

“I think it has a lot of merit. I certainly want to commend the Moose for their interest,” Defilippi said. “It definitely has potential.”

Ulmer said the Moose could build the park on its own property and insure it, but then it could not be open to the public; only Moose members could use it.

If the borough gives the green light, Ulmer said work could start in the spring.

“I hope it goes through,” Guerrera said.

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or brittmeyer@tribweb.com.

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