**Update: A Parks and Recreation meeting Tuesday was canceled for a lack of quorum. The meeting agenda didn’t include the skate park, but the issue was expected to be discussed.
There was no answer at the gate of the Zombies’ home Tuesday afternoon. Later that evening a press representative said the rocker was en route to another concert after headlining the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival. The festival was in Hartford July 21.
Rob Zombie says he doesn’t hate skaters.
It seems like an odd thing to have to prove for the slasher flick making, monster and gore loving, hard rocking performer.
But the prospect relates to the media firestorm that has erupted over a skate park on a piece of public land that abuts Zombie’s property in the town of Woodbury.
“It seems nuts to even have to address this but I guess I will,” Zombie posted on his Facebook page. “Some really crazy articles have popped up making claims about ‘hating skaters’ and ‘hating children.’ None of this is true and it makes me sick that someone would print such lies.
“There is a simple matter going on in which we are trying to find a solution that will make EVERYBODY happy. Unfortunately someone decided to turn it into a whole ugly event. What a bummer.”
The issue came to the public eye nearly two months after the rocker’s wife, Sheri Moon Zombie, stood up during a June 19 meeting on the town budget to ask whether money would be set aside to move the skate park to a different location in Hollow Park.
“I know they’re trying to improve the obnoxious noise with the wood on the side of the ramps, and that did nothing,” said Moon Zombie, according to the official meeting minutes posted on the town’s website. “I know they have ordered sound fabric, I think this is just a band-aid. The Skate Board Park should not have been put there.”
Woodbury First Selectman Jerry Stomski said there were few places in Hollow Park that could accommodate the skate park because a large portion of the park sits on a flood plain.
“Physically moving it? No. You can’t literally pick up a chunk of cement and fence and say let’s carry it over here,” Stomski said. “We do have an area that we’re going to look at potentially look at, but if we move it out of her [the Zombies'] back yard and put it in someone else’s back yard, we’re going to be facing the same situation.
Rob Zombie elaborated his point further on Facebook in comment responses posted Monday, saying other neighbors affected by noise are elderly and wheelchair bound. He also lamented the potential for finding a simple solution, saying the issue “has already become a [expletive] witch hunt.”“No one is crushing little people. Just trying to fix the sound of metal ramps crashing in my backyard,” Zombie says in one post. “Not trying to [expletive] with anyone, just trying to find a solution. Trust me, if this was in your backyard you would agree.”
First Selectman Stomski said the town received one noise complaint about the park shortly after it opened in April, but declined to confirm who the complaint was from.
Stomski says the town asked the complainant for time to try a few sound dampening measures, like enclosing the skate ramps and softening the material used. The next complaint the town received was from Mrs. Zombie during the June 19 budget meeting.
“One of the things I kind of find offensive is that there’s only one neighbor who’s given us any kind of complaint,” Stomski said. “It wasn’t until last week that we received a complaint from another neighbor, and that was only after they were contacted by the [first] neighbor who complained. So in essence we only had one complaint up until that time.”
Amanda Klimak has taken to social media to talk about the issue. An apparent proponent and fundraiser for the park, Klimak has said in online posts that her children use the skate park.
“He [Mr. Zombie] said it’s too noisy, however, they have modified it several times to reduce the sound and it’s now so quiet and I can’t imagine what he is finding fault with,” she said in one post.
In a letter and video also posted Monday at http://www.woodburyskatepark.com, Klimak and several children ask Zombie and his fans to donate to the park in order to help pay for further soundproofing.
“We know Mr. Zombie supports kids,” says one child in the video. “We just want to keep our skate park open so we can have fun,” adds another.
It was not immediately clear whether the Zombies had heard about or responded to this latest offer. Attempts to contact both Zombie and Klimak for further comment were unsuccessful.
Since the complaints were filed, the skate park’s hours have been cut back from their original daily dawn to dusk hours to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The town of Woodbury Parks and Recreation department will be holding their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, Aug 6. While the skate park is not specifically on the agenda, the issue is expected to be brought up by those in attendance.
It was also not known whether Rob Zombie, who just Sunday finished a month long stint headlining the Mayhem Festival tour, would be in attendance. The Mayhem Festival was at the Comcast Theatre in Hartford on July 21.
“I know [the Zombies], I think they’re really nice people,” says First Selectman Stomski. “They’re just like any other person that you see on the street and have a conversation with. We’re addressing them the same way that we do a resident in town- we go, listen to them, look at what their complaints are, and try to resolve any of their complaints.”