ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Treaty Skate Park has temporarily closed after the vendor who ran the park for the past several years closed up shop. St. Johns County is searching for a new vendor to take its place.
The uncertainty has left many skaters worried about the future of the popular skate park.
"I'm pretty sad. That park was really fun," said skater Charlie Lewis.
Surf Station leased the park from St. Johns County. It was in charge of operating the park and enforcing the rules. It recently gave the county a 60-day notice that it wasn't going to renew the lease.
The announcement came after an accident left one skater with a serious head injury. That skater is now suing Surf Station for damages.
Tory Strange, who ran the concession, did not want to speak on camera but in a statement to Action News, he said "with coming litigation against us, it is best to exercise our option and not run the skate park until this is resolved."
Attorney Megan Searls, of the law firm Morgan and Morgan, represents the skater. She maintains that Surf Station did not require skaters to wear helmets. She said her client fell into a 7-foot bowl and hit his head against the concrete, causing a serious brain injury.
Searls said "we hope that this suit brings attention to the need to enforce rules when supervising minors for their safety, and that the new vendor does so when the park reopens soon."
Signs posted throughout the park state helmets are required. St. Johns County Recreation and Parks supervisor Joe Shakar said every skater is also required to sign a waiver.
"Safety is a big issue we recommend and require everyone to wear helmets," said Shakar.
Strange said the injured skater signed the waiver. However, Searls argues there are questions as to who is released from liability, and according to her the waiver in question was not dated.
The county is taking the time to do some maintenance while the park is closed in the hopes of opening back up soon.
"We don't want to shut it down, we don't want that to happen. We know there are people who are upset right now, but please give us time," said Shakar.
Searls said Surf Station should be ultimately accountable for the accident and not the county. She'll be seeking damages from the vendor's insurance company.
St. Johns County hopes to open the skate park in the next two weeks. The county has already received bids from two vendors.