The grassroots petition campaign Saturday in Blue Point, a kickoff event on getting a park established on Park Street in honor of Billy Schettino, featured an unexpected turn of events event for family members.
Schettino was killed March 14 after being struck by a sheriff’s car on the LIE as he waited for help after his car became disabled.
The group was walking door to door on Park Street, seeking support for rehabilitating the former Blue Point Laundry site. They had just hit the long hilly section heading west and were within view of the “Wastelands,” the site’s local nickname, when they saw a van and small sedan stop and young skateboarders head into the park.
At first the petition collecting group, which included Schettino’s parents Luigi and Jo Ann, assumed it was friends of Billy’s hopping the fence with skateboards in hand.
But as they crested the hill and stopped at the site they quickly realized they didn’t recognize any of the dozen-plus teenagers skating on ramps and doing tricks.
After a few moment several of the teens stopped skating, clearing wondering why a group wearing t-shirts commemorating a young man were staring at them.
One of the teens told the volunteers they were from Queens and had been driving around Long Island looking for a skate board area and got lost.
Somehow they found themselves on Park Street and had all intentions of turning the car around until they saw the cracked pavement lot and the skate ramps that Billy and his friends had built at the site.
“We just were trying to find a place to skate,” said the teenager, who seemed a little taken back by the story of the Schettino tragedy. Schettino, an 18-year-old Bayport Blue Point graduate, was a longtime skating enthusiast and started an movement to renovate the site for a real skate park in his early teens.
The Queens skateboarders weren’t the only ones a bit taken back by the event.
“It’s almost as if Billy’s spirit brought them here to show us this is why we are doing what we’re doing,” said a family volunteer. “It’s like he’s with us right now.”
Those interested in signing the online petition for the Schettino memorial park effort can click here.