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Input sought for skatepark design

by Merrie Leininger

About 26 skaters and parents attended a design meeting for the skatepark they hope will be built by this fall in Lampe Park.

Rob Fellows of Lumos and Associates engineering firm and Airick Valenzuela, of Skate of the Art skatepark design, who both will be working on the design of of the park, led the discussion Wednesday at the co-operative extension office on Waterloo Lane.

Valenzuela, 32, is a skater, and has been designing parks on the West Coast for seven years.

“We want to get all the ideas and put it into what works. We want you to help design the park so you will have more respect for it,” he said.

Fellows told the group of the target dates for each part of the process. He said he hopes to have a contract signed with the builders by the end of June so building can start by July 10. He estimates construction will take about 45 days so the park will open sometime in September.

He said the park is not allowed to have vertical drop-offs of more than 4 feet because of insurance reasons, but most other parts of the park are up to the kids.

The designers introduced their preliminary ideas for the park, which will be built between the playground and tennis courts in Lampe Park. They said they envisioned three distinct, but linked areas; one street area for novices, a second street area for more advanced skaters, and a large bowl.

Fellows also said the design will have more clear flow so everyone will be skating in the same direction and not running in to each other.

The group of mostly teen, male skaters said they would like to see features such as stairs to jump over, rails to slide down and ledges to skate off.

Dan O’Sullivan, owner of Ballistic Skate Shop and the unofficial group leader, said features of increasing level of difficulty were needed so young skaters can work their way up to harder tricks.

He also gave suggestions based on what he determined were the best features of skateparks in Carson City, South Lake Tahoe and Reno, such as putting metal over curbs to prevent chipping and creating smooth cracks in the concrete to prevent uneven cracks from appearing later.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Scott Morgan drew smiles when he promised every facet of the park would be something the kids are allowed – and supposed – to skate on.

He encouraged skaters and park neighbors to be involved in the design process.

“As long as you aren’t designing things with razor blades and broken glass, go for it. Like every good bureaucrat, we want to try to make everybody happy,” Morgan said.

He said skaters without helmets will be kicked out, and it is also strongly suggested everyone in the park wear knee and elbow pads and gloves.

There will be another design meeting in April.