Trampoline park owner: 'We will not let a few take away from so many great kids'

Trampoline park owner: 'We will not let a few take away from so many great kids'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The owner of Altitude Trampoline Park says he is not going to let a few ruin the fun for all of the teens who attend the weekly teen night event.

On Saturday, police were called to the trampoline park at 4420 Dixie Highway in Shively after an off-duty officer working there requested backup. The park had reached their capacity of 550 people and the officer was dealing with teens outside who were not allowed in.

Lt. Col. Josh Myers, with Shively Police, said there were are least 300 to 400 teens outside of the trampoline park. Myers explained that dozens of officers arrived on the scene. LMPD assisted and there were 46 employees from Altitude Trampoline Park.

"We are very frustrated that what should be a simple incident to clear out a parking lot turned out to be what it did," Myers said. "There were numerous young people who did a good job and were very respectful and did exactly what was asked of them. However, there was a large number of young people who were defiant, disrespectful and belligerent."

At least three teens face charges. Myers said Shively police charged two teens, one with assault of an officer. LMPD PIO Dwight Mitchell said LMPD charged one teen with possession of a weapon; he could not confirm what type of weapon.

Chuck Hall, Altitude Trampoline Park owner, began the teen night when he opened the park in February 2017. Hall describes teen night as a promotion to attract children between 13 and 18 years old but said everyone, including parents, can attend.

"We could have built this park anywhere but there was only one place we wanted to build it because we knew there was nothing on the South End," Hall said. "We have always said we are going to provide a fun family place and we have for people to go."

Hall said there are several safety measures at the park including a system that keeps track of attendees.  Only 332 jumpers are allowed on the trampolines at a time; the park's capacity is 550. Hall said he partners with local law enforcement and flags customers who have a history of causing trouble.

"They just kept coming and they just kept coming because it is a fun place," Hall said.

Hall and dozen of his employees began turning away business. Hundreds of teens gathered in the parking lot, fights broke out, and police were called.

"We always hear these kids don't have a place to go. Well this business is trying to provide that and usually they do without a hitch," Myers said.

"The opportunity for kids to get off the street is phenomenal but I don't think that's enough," Calvin Wooten, of the street ministry Love Transformation Project, said. The group organizes sports clinics and extracurriculars in city parks. Wooten said that while the activities help they are just a band-aid for troubled teens.

"Giving them a basketball is one thing but helping them deal with the issues that they are dealing with is something else," Wooten said.

Police said it's not their responsibility to teach morals and owner Hall agreed, but he said he will continue to host a teen night at the trampoline park.

"We will not let a few take away from so many great kids," Hall said.

Police said they have helped disperse teens from the parking lot before but never experienced a crowd like Saturday's. Hall said the only difference in Saturday's teen night was a DJ.

Altitude is not the only venue in Louisville Metro to host a teen night. Iceland located in the east end also hosts teen nights on Friday and Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Management said they have not had any issues with overcrowding. If crowds do pour in they have a second rink to open.

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