GARDNERVILLE - Stodick Park may have been favored going in, but Lampe Park came out the top choice for a skateboard park.
More than 100 people watched the Douglas parks and recreation and county commissions debate a skate park location last week, offering criticism and support for the three possible sites: Ranchos Aspen, Stodick and Lampe parks.
Opponents of Lampe objected to the possible additional traffic and parking problems, as well as the site's proximity to the children's playground. The skatepark is proposed for what is currently an open lawn on the south side of the park, between the tennis courts, a parking lot and the playground.
Proponents cited Lampe's central location.
"I would hate to see our community throw them over to the side, on a faraway place," said parks and recreation commissioner Robin Reedy, who favored Lampe. "I think the skateboarders have worked hard to get this and that's (Lampe) what they want."
"I personally would feel a lot better about sending my kids to Lampe Park to skate than I would Stodick," said Vicki Bates, a founder of the Carson Valley Skaters. "It's not interfering with anyone else's activity. The fact the park is well used, to me, is a plus."
Both commissions voted unanimously for Lampe. Most of those attending - an even mix of young people and adults - stood in favor of Lampe Park when asked for their preference. Ranchos Aspen was a distant second. No one stood up for Stodick, located east of Gardnerville near Chichester Estates.
Bates, who has been working on establishing a skate park since 1997, was ecstatic with the decision.
"What I'm hoping will happen is it (the skate park) will prove itself to the community, and when they develop Ranchos Birch or Ranchos Conifer parks, they will include a skate park there, too," said Bates, referring to future park sites. "We want to be in a mainstream location. These kids are not the outlaws of the community."
The decision was disappointing to Northampton Circle residents James Sorrentino and Don Muenchausen. The men said they're not opposed to a skate park, but they are concerned the facility will bring more traffic and increase the parking problems their neighborhood already experiences because of the park's popularity.
"I'm very disappointed. I think Stodick would be a much better location because they're coming in there unimpeded," Sorrentino said after the vote.
Stodick is not yet completed or surrounded by homes.
Parks and Recreation Director Scott Morgan said Lampe Park could host a 10,000-15,000-square-foot skateboard facility. The county has about $1.2 million available for capital improvements, but the skate park is estimated at $70,000- $140,000.
Morgan said design of the facility will probably begin in January, and skaters, the parks and recreation board and community members will be invited to give comments on park features. He agreed with recommendations from county and parks commissioners to install a fence or buffer between the playground and skate park.
The park could be ready by the summer of 2000, depending on how quickly design and construction occur.