Martinsville Church Worries About Skateboarding Damage

Martinsville, VA - A Martinsville church has been dealing with a lot of damage over the years from skateboarders, and members say soon it may be getting even worse.

Pastor John Fulcher of First Baptist Church says he is also concerned about the skateboarders' safety. He says the church has a lot of surfaces where someone could easily get hurt.

The Martinsville church has started to look more like a skate park than a sanctuary. Over the past decade, skateboarders have caused significant damage to the church property, leaving cracks, grease, and paint behind. Over time, the repair costs have added up to $10,000.

"That's a lot of money. That's tough," said Fulcher.

Many predict skateboarders opt for the church instead of the park, just down the street, because of the challenge.

"My guess is it would become maybe boring or routine to use the same equipment over and over again," said Leon Towarnicki, Interim Martinsville City Manager.

Fulcher has tried everything from asking the skateboarders to leave, to putting up multiple signs.

"We want young people to come into the church. We don't want to ask them to leave," said Fulcher.

If approved next week, a city ordinance would outlaw skateboarding in all of Uptown Martinsville.

For now Fulcher says the church is done repairing and can't afford to keep fixing the damage.

"We can't. At this point right now we are not doing anything with it because it continues. We fix it, it is going to happen again," said Fulcher.

The current Martinsville law says anyone over 14 cannot skateboard on any paved public sidewalk in the city.