Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry quickly brushed off comments Wednesday about the secret skate park underneath Interstate 85, mere yards from the site of the March 30 freeway collapse.
When asked by 11Alive's Doug Richards if he would call the skate park "mostly harmless," he mostly deferred comments about the skate park as well as those regarding homeless individuals who were living beneath the highway structure to City of Atlanta officials and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
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"I wouldn't say it's mostly harmless, obviously with this example behind us of what we're dealing with today, but right now, we're truly focused on getting this roadway opened," McMurry said. "There will be conversations going forward obviously for communities -- you know, I know that cities -- the city of Atlanta certainly has a program they are working toward to help with homeless and people that may be inhabiting areas like this. It's certainly a social issue that has to be addressed and focused on, but our focus right now is getting this road back open."
At a news conference last Friday, Reed called construction of the skate park 'creative,' though he emphasized he was not condoning how and where the park was constructed.
Reed, in that news conference, seemed to defer comments regarding the area beneath the bridge to GDOT.
"Regarding the Georgia DOT, I think they’ve already decided they’re going to do the assessment of how they manage the use of all of the facilities of under the bridges they have of all the responsibilities before. I won’t pile on. I think the most important thing we can do right now is to work in a cooperative fashion and that’s what’s going on."
GDOT never sanctioned or approved construction of the skate park, and was not aware of its existence until recently. A GDOT spokesperson says the agency has set meetings with the skateboarding community to discuss how to move forward.
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