The city held a public meeting to get input on $450,000 in upgrades for the skate park.
BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER
The city plans to upgrade the skatepark at Nova Community Center, 440 N. Nova Road, with improved skateboarding opportunities as well as a concession and skate store, a person to monitor the park, green areas and a break room with a TV and maybe video games.
At a meeting Oct. 29, local skaters were happy to see plans for improvement but had no interest in the other features.
“You’re going to attract people who don’t have a Nintendo at home,” one skater said. “It’s going to become a hangout.”
Other comments were as follows: “If you have someone watching the skaters, you’re going to have liability.” “There are enough skate stores in town.” And, “I bring my 10-year-old to the skatepark to get away from TV.”
The general consensus was that the existing skate park needs improvement, such as smoother concrete and deeper bowls, but the only added facilities they would like are bathrooms, a water fountain and outlets to charge their phones.
Shawn Finley, civil engineer for the city, said he didn’t know which items were negotiable.
About 25 skateboarders attended the meeting.
“The city is good when they open a park,” said Lori Koplin, recreation coordinator. “They try to get input and implement what is said.”
One of the main goals for the project is to provide space for beginners and skating vets.
“The older kids are more daring and try more stuff,” said Leisure Services Director Robert Carolin. “We want a separate section for younger kids.”
Carolin said having a monitor at the site to enforce regulations would make it more family-friendly and safe. The purpose of adding a building would be to provide a place for the skaters to rest and congregate, instead of just skating and leaving.
Originally, the city wanted to double the size of the park to about 22,000 square feet. After testing the soil, they found that the park is over an old landfill and the soil would not support that much concrete, so the size was reduced. New plans call for 5,000 to 8,000 more square feet.
The cost of the project is projected to be $450,000 but the city has received an ECHO grant of $225,000 to offset that cost.
Finley told the skaters that the next step will be to get approval from the ECHO board, and then seek a contractor. The park could be built by October of 2014.
“Send me suggestions,” he said. “If you’ve seen a great skate park somewhere when you were on vacation, email a picture to me.”