As volunteers finish new ramp, parks board discusses skate park options

At the Tuesday, March 20, Parks and Recreation Board Meeting, parks director Dana Corogin reported the Skate Park project is moving right along.  The volunteer group built a new half pipe and it’s really exciting.  She learned that skateboarding and BMXing is like sailing and powerboating, and downhill skiing and snowboarding.

The group was going to remove all of the damaged ramps that need repaired, but the BMXers pleaded with them not take out the ramps because they were perfect for them.  They like to use the perimeter of the park with the spacing.  They are excited about the new feature but they still need to fix some of the ramps.  They can repair them with the Gatorskins and it will give them the option to use the park that much more.  Therefore, she presented a cost of additional materials not to exceed $5,000.  She said the volunteer group consisting of Reed Hettle, Dan Overfield, Johnny Chaney, and Jim Smillie said they would get a group together and will assess the ones in really bad shape, and will put a piece of plywood under the area and will put Gatorskins over it.  So, they think they can do this for a lot less and they can get the BMX community involved with helping with this work.  She noted in her report other volunteers include Justin and Damian Damron from Norwalk; Noah and Tony, Vermilion BMX guys, and Joey, a skateboarder from Bay Village.

Corogin felt the parks board needs to take a stand that they are not opening the park until its safe.  She would like the board to allocate some funds to get the additional Gatorskins in to fix minimally what needs to get done.  There are other areas that are flaking, but they are not dangerous.  She said if they had $6,000 to put into this, then she would recommend they replace all the Gatorskins now.  However, if they want to save, then she feels they can do it for less and revisit it next year.

She said the volunteer group is dedicated to the new concrete Skate Park, but until then, these kids have no place to do this activity if they don’t get the Skate Spot up and running again.  The one positive is that the culture is changing.  They have adults utilizing the Skate Spot along with the children.

Board member Terry Parker said the likelihood of a new skate park happening is at least five years down the road, but these kinds of repairs could extend the life of this park a good five years. Corogin responded that with the financial climate of the city, it’s not even the best time to entertain this new grandiose Skate Park, which they are all so excited about, but now she thinks they should get the Skate Spot up and operational and keep working on doing their research on the new skate park.  The community is interested and the Library may also help fundraise for another feature, which is exciting.  She wants everyone to remain positive.  Councilman Holmes said the volunteers are very positive and energetic and the repairs will give longevity to the current skate park.

Upon further review of the budget and costs to put additional repairs into the Skate Spot the board approved spending up to $6,000 to make the needed repairs to the Skate Spot.

Board member Brudney said they have held two meetings with Superintendent Pempin, Dana Corogin, and Reed Hettel who is the community activist on this project.  At this point the most important thing is going to be a location.  He said Mr. Pempin has offered his services and help in trying to get a location that is somewhere on the school campus. It’s important to give a power point presentation that can be delivered to the Parks Board and School Board.  He said Mr. Pempin would like to present this to the School Board and Reed is working with them on this.  The main goal is to come up with a location and to pursue fundraising.  Getting the schools support on this project is very important and they feel locating it somewhere on the campus will be the best use for the kids.

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