Local Women Take to the Poles on State Street

Local Women Take to the Poles on State Street
New Workout Salon Attracts the Fit

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sledding Debate Pits Thrill-seekers Against Nervous Nellies

    Sledding is something we all remember back to the days when that Flexible Flyer sled was under the tree for lucky kids. Then came flying saucers and various other sledding devices for young thrill seekers.
   It can be dangerous. I remember siding into a stump in suburban Washington as a youngster. It was a bell ringer.
   In Watertown, families have long slid down the hill at the entrance to Thompson Park, off the circle. The hill is a good spot and invites the adventurous to climb to the top for a more harrowing ride...So much so, bales of hay have been at the base of the hill to stop speeding sledders. It's a hard hit colliding with the frozen bales.
    One young couple I talked to today had been to the top and said it was scary and that they saw a family of spectators get "wiped out" by a sled careening down the hill.
    That's why a proposal came about to fence off the upper section, while one Council member wants none of that, instead wanting the City to purchase netting to catch high speed sledders headed for the road.
     A "sled at your own risk" sign seems odd  now that there is an acknowledged hazard in some eyes.
    I think its best to keep sledding at a level where kids and families can safely enjoy it. It's sledding, not the Olympics.


Anonymous said...

Show us the math. How often can we expect a kid to hit his head and turn into a vegetative state? Like the kid on Onondaga hill a few years ago. And how much would we have to pay out for such an accident?


An open grassy hillside descends from the reservoir all around, with the north end facing onto West Genesee Street having the tallest and longest slope, popular for sledding in the winter. The reservoir is considered to be the best place for sledding in the entire Syracuse area, despite the "No Sledding" signs posted along the fence at the top of the hill.

On January 10, 2009, a 12 year old girl was sledding down the reservoir when she couldn't stop herself and slammed head first into a parked car. She sustained severe head injuries and died 3 days later. As a result, the city of Syracuse proposed that an orange fence be put up around the reservoir to further prohibit sledding, and to keep people safe.

Katie B said...

Thanks Mayor for using my photo...:-)!

Anonymous said...

Its a wonder Joe Knows isn't up there waiting for someone to run into a tree.

K Parks said...

Nervous Nellies? I know it's fairly harmless-yet it's still name calling. Is it the one council member that you are singling out as the Nervous Nellie? Is the Nervous Nellie creating a problem? Any type of imposed limits will eventually lead to a ban on sledding. If the city is allready putting up hay bricks-why not a retaining net (reusable). Who would have thought the hay would freeze... I would like to think that the city has enough dump trucks that may just be able to create a retaining hill at the base of the hill with snow-may be cost effective yes?

D. Anthony said...

Why is it that everything that we all did when we were kids is now all of a sudden to dangerous for present day children? Yes of course hay freezes, anything that holds moisture will freeze. A large snow berm at the bottom sounds like a good idea but depending on how it is built it might just turn into a launching ramp. Snow fencing, the bright orange stuff, is very affordable, strong and can be reused year after year. I myself would much rather see our children, in my case grandchildren, have a fence at the bottom of a hill to protect them from injury. To me it means allot more than chasing crows around and I bet it costs less too!!

Anonymous said...

Leave the hill alone! Generations of people have had fun sledding here. There is absolutely nothing in the city for kids or families to do anymore. The city has already taken away the playgrounds, the iceskating at all of the schools,and now you want to limit winter fun in the park. I grew up sledding there, so did my kids and now my grandchildren enjoy it. Anyone sledding there already knows the minimal risks involved, we don't need city government protecting us from ourselves.

Anonymous said...

I used to slide on hills out near Sackets Harbor...As well as the Park Hill Doesn't Everyone know that SLEDDING is an At Your Own Risk activity to do?? If the Nervous Nellies out there are that concerned then they must have never had the FUN of sliding down a nice fast hill to begin with.It Gets VERY Tiring Hearing Grown Ups say this is not good that is not good and then our kids are left with WHAT?????? Boredom ???? Illegal Activities?? Couch Potato's??? Obesity ??? Go Away N Sayers Leave our Kids Only Spot to Slide ALONE!!! I want My GrandBabies to ENJOY that Activity with all it's Thrills and Dangers That way they Learn Not to Be NERVOUS NELLIES and that they can do even if it looks scary....Good GRIEF Mr. MAYOR STOP THEM Before our Kids are Lost to No Winter Activity

Anonymous said...

I was there yesterday and saw a child hit the hay bales hard. No serious injury, just lots of tears.

I think you have left the city with a potentially very large liability risk. You are aware that the bales are not entirely safe and that netting would improve safety. If you choose not to take action and a sledder is seriously injured then can the city be held liable?

Do signs that say "Sled at your own risk" relieve you of liability?

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid there was fence around half way up the hill. Over the years that fence fell down and has since been removed. It was fast then and is even faster now. The hill is too large and dangerous for my two small children. Please bring back the fence, it is a public safety issue.

exnimo said...

I guess we've all lost "common sense" to character's like "Joe Knows" so the city can get sued. If your kid likes to sled, do it at your own risk. Of course, I'm old, so we never thought of suing someone!

Anonymous said...

If your kid breaks an arm you would probably suck it up like most good citizens would. But if you kid dies or gets an traumatic brain injury, I wager you might have second thoughts about suing someone.

Anonymous said...

OMG , why is this being discussed. We as kids back in the 60's did this hill all the time when we were small. Yes we even went from the top and lived to tell about it. Sure you are going to have accidents once in awhile where someone may get bruised up or even break an arm or something. It's all part of life people. You can't protect everyone from every potential injury. If you are worried about it then do go sledding!! Simple as that!!

Anonymous said...

Why not just close the hill? If people can't understand "Sled at your own risk" then close it. Honestly, it is just people who don't know HOW to sled that are complaining. The idea of sledding is not to go until you HIT something to stop! You can stop and steer sleds with your body.

Anonymous said...

Close it down.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that this sledding hill is as grave a danger to people living in Watertown as those dangerous dogs people would bring to public events. It's time for Watertown to ban sledding on all public grounds, so the city doesn't have to worry about lawsuits if someone is injured.

Matter of fact, let's just ban everything in the city: sports are dangerous and can leave you injured, especially sledding, biking, rollerblading, and skateboarding. It's a threat to the people doing it and those around them. Also, we should close all bars because they invite drunken and dangerous behavior - people driving home drunk, people starting fights. Those need to go. We should probably also get rid of cars since 42% of deaths in the US are caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Actually, let's just close down the city. Obviously nobody there has any common sense.

Anonymous said...

Ban ice hockey it causes fights.

Anonymous said...

@4;17 AM

Exactly. Great post

The city should
Protect people of all ages from their own actions or God beware responsibilty of their own action.

We need new laws like:
Everyone should stay home, sitting on the sofa.

Joel said...

I cannot believe this is even an issue to be discussed. My family was at Thompson park enjoying the hill, when I observed someone asking questions about whether or not it is safe and what could be done to make it more safe,REALLY? How sad is it that people are so over protective of their children that they try and take the fun out of everything. Keep your kids locked in your basement if you don't want them to enjoy life, stop spoiling the little freedom my children still have.