Local News

Skateboarders Take on City Over Self-Made Shrine

Posted February 25, 2008

— "Save the trees" is the cry heard among some in Fayetteville, but the trees in question aren't endangered species.

They're covered in old, broken skateboards, a shrine, or honor, to fellow boarders who love the sport. They've even been featured in several skateboarding magazines and shown during a nationally televised competition.

"If you break a board, you've earned the right to hang it on the trees," said Dorian Motowylak. "To me, it's just beautiful, and the kids love it."

Motowylak says it started last August, when children started laying their "trophies" by the tree. Now, there are more than 200 pieces – so many that Motowylak has taken on the precarious job of hanging them.

"It was just something to do with all the broken boards, instead of throwing them away," Motowylak said.

But others call the site outside the Blount Street Skate Shop an eyesore and a poor reflection on downtown Fayetteville.

Now, citing a sign ordinance, the city says the boards must come down, calling them a snipe sign, an illegal posting meant to bring in business.

"They convey an advertising message, since it is a skateboarding shop and they do sell skateboards at that location," said David Steinmetz, with the Fayetteville Inspections Department.

The city's sign ordinance applies to anything affixed to a fence, pole, bridge, bench or natural object.

Skaters say the city should give them a break, saying the broken boards are part of the culture.

"I love the trees. I smile every time I drive by them," said Jed Shooter, who competes with a skate team in Raleigh.

He believes the city's objection has nothing to do with signs.

"It's another thing they're trying to take away from us to keep us from having something we're proud of," he said.

On Monday, the local Board of Adjustment sided with city inspectors, saying the skateboards must come down.

But the fight to "save the trees" continues. The skate shop is appealing the case, and this Saturday, skaters will hold a fundraiser at the shop.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Feb 26, 2008

    Let 'em be. Isnt there some other major crisis the city fathers can attack?

  • meh_whatever Feb 26, 2008

    This is ridiculous. Keep the boards on the tree, as long as the tree isn't harmed by them.

    People should be glad that these skaters are out getting some exercise.


  • NCkickstand Feb 26, 2008

    Why are those dang kids not sitting in front of the TV playing video games anyway! They should take it down, the nerve to have a shrine representing hard work, dedication, practice, balance and so forth! Way to go Fayetteville, you got it wrong again...
    From a 46 year old non-skate boarder.

  • Adelinthe Feb 26, 2008

    "I am not really a skateboarder fan but when i saw the tree on the news i was like that's cool it's not nothing wrong with that."


    It's no worse than that monstrosity dubbed the Raleigh Eifel Tower down on Capital Boulevard, and in many senses, means much more to people.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • Babygirl_1 Feb 26, 2008

    I am not really a skateboarder fan but when i saw the tree on the news i was like that's cool it's not nothing wrong with that.

  • bitemedoughboy Feb 26, 2008

    leave the skateboarders and their tree alone...let them have something that belongs to them...who's it hurting anyway
    ..."one man's art" as they say

  • Dreamin of Disney World Feb 26, 2008

    I say leave the boards as a shrine. And for any of you skaters out there reading these I need some advice for my son. He received a really nice skateboard for Xmas, (his first one), plus safety equipment. But he's been slow to get the hang of skate boarding. Any advice or tips? I use to skate board years ago, but I was always one of those reckless kids who didn't care if they fell 20x's. My son's more cautious than I am. Any advice on how to get started would really help.

  • DowntownJohn Feb 26, 2008

    Just another example of The Man trying to keep the boarders down.

  • amypsychrn Feb 26, 2008

    Leave the boards. My son hangs his broken skateboards on the wall of his bedroom. Skateboarders are treated like crimimals or second class citizens. I like to see the young people out getting some type of exercise instead of sitting in front of a computer or video game!

  • ahsams Feb 26, 2008

    Adults are so quick to put down kids these days. I hear comments all of the time about how they do nothing, arent involved in the community, show no interest, sit in front of the TV or video games getting more and more unheallthy and uneducated. Well, it's a load of psycho-babble!!! Here are a group of kids, teens and young adults that are involved in something both athletic and artistic, and they do care!!! And what are the political leaders, community leaders and other "fine upstanding citizens" trying to do? They are trying to ruin and destroy somthing these same young people are involved in. The adults in the community should be ashamed of themsylves for the actions they are advocating. Instead of destroying this they should be supporting it. KEEP THE TREE! Hell, do something pro-active, make more of them! Invlove more young people! Create! Advocate! Support! And if that is not possible for these Adults, then they should find something to do other than this!