Land may be available for skate park | RecordCourier.com

Land may be available for skate park

Holly Atchison

A new chapter has surfaced in the quest for a skate park in the Carson Valley, possibly providing land for the park.

Douglas County commissioners approved a proposal for the purchase of land in the Gardnerville Ranchos by the East Fork Fire and Paramedic District. The site will hold a fire station, a police substation and a recreational area, according to Scott Morgan, director of the parks and recreation department.

Morgan said this could potentially be the site for the skate park.

Fire Chief Jim Reinhardt said he supports the skate park and believes it could be incorporated into the plan.

“We’re looking at some park and recreation use, and that (the skate park) would surely fall under that type of use,” he said.

“The skateboard people have approached us with the possibility of donating 1/4 to 1/2 an acre to them,” Reinhardt said.

However, the EFFPD is still in the negotiation process with the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District, the owner of the land, and has not purchased anything yet, according to Reinhardt.

“First, the property must be acquired,” Morgan said. “The county board of commissioners did approve the purchase with the recreational site. Once that purchase takes place, the area on the property needs to be identified.”

Morgan said neighborhood and public meetings will be held for citizens to express their views on the skate park.

The site in mind is south of the Gorman’s center at the intersection of Tillman and Patricia Lanes, according to Reinhardt.

Douglas County commissioners also toured the skate park in South Lake Tahoe July 10 at the parks and recreation committee meeting to learn more about the process of building a similar park.

“The commission had some really good questions,” said Patty O’Sullivan, representative for the Carson Valley Skaters, the group pushing for the park.

Mary Kay McLanahan, a planner for the city of South Lake Tahoe, was the head of development for the South Lake Tahoe skate park and also helped with the planning of the new park in Carson City. She explained the whole process to the group at the meeting.

“They wanted to know how long it took, what kind of funding was needing, insurance situations all the aspects from A to Z,” McLanahan said.

“They asked me about the size, if ours was big enough and what I would do differently,” she said.

“I think they (the commissioners) realized it was going to take some effort,” she said. “I think they thought it was a wonderful project.”

“She was wonderful,” O’Sullivan said of McLanahan. “She had suggestions on the park and fund-raising.”

If the skate park is built at the proposed site in the Ranchos instead of being incorporated into a phase of the parks and recreation department, it will be ineligible for money from Residential Construction Tax, according to Morgan.

Money from RCT is usually put towards the construction of new parks.

“Other funding could be provided (from the parks and recreation department),” Morgan said. “However, the budget is extremely tight.”

O’Sullivan said the Carson Valley Skaters are aware of this and are prepared to raise money through donations and fund-raisers.

“Because it will not be part of the Douglas County park system, we would have to raise all the funds,” O’Sullivan said. “It will be a job, but it’s something everyone is willing to work at.”

A benefit of building the park in this site is a change to the master plan is not needed, according to skater Chris Ramey, 15.

Private land could still be used if it was donated, he said, but it would cost too much if they had to purchase it.

The skaters are also interested in helping with the design and construction of the park.

“All of us, the kids, want to help build it,” said Chris. He said it would give them more appreciation for the park and a sense of accomplishment.

The Carson Valley Skaters presented their ideas at the Partnership of Community Resources meeting Wednesday morning. At the meeting, several skaters spoke and expressed their plans and reasons for wanting the skate park.

“Our group is committed to the development of a skate park in Douglas County,” said 13-year-old skater Ryan O’Sullivan.

“We feel a skate park would be beneficial to the community,” said skater Dan O’Sullivan, 15. “We want to improve our relations between skateboarders and the public.”

The negative image perceived by the public is an obstacle the skaters wanted to address.

“We’re not allowed to skate in any existing parks, schools or playgrounds,” Dan said.

“Most of us are pretty good kids,” said 12-year-old skater Scott Bates. “There are jerk skaters like there are jerks in any other sport.”

Scott said it is a select few who ruin the positive image these kids have to offer.

“They’re just kids and they want to have a good time,” O’Sullivan said.

The group is also spreading the word that skating should be considered a sport.

“We’d like to see skating treated as a sport,” Scott said. “The skate park would be just like any other playground.”

“It’s definitely a competitive sport,” O’Sullivan.

“It’s fun, it’s exciting and it takes hard work and dedication,” Dan said. “It’s challenging and it takes a lot of skill.”

One concern about the park is supervision.

“People want to know who’s going to watch the area? Who’s going to police it?” O’Sullivan said.

She believes putting the park in the same location as a police sub-station would help answer these questions.

“It will alleviate some of the concerns for putting the skate park in,” she said.

O’Sullivan also said she was told a fence and a paid supervisor would cause the cost for liability insurance to go sky high because the town would be taking responsibility for the skaters rather than advising them to skate at their own risk.

Instead of supervision, signs would be posted advising skaters that safety gear is required and they would be skating at their own risk, Ryan said.

It is a misdemeanor in Carson City to skate without equipment and up to a $500 fine can be issued, according to O’Sullivan. She said the police randomly check the park, and if skaters are not wearing the proper equipment, they will be cited.

Although the Carson Valley Skaters are concentrating their efforts on one main skate park, they are also interested in creating smaller facilities, perhaps even just a slab of concrete with a bump in it, in other neighborhoods such as Johnson Lane and Minden.

“Our main goal is a community skate park, but we hope to do other things too,” Scott said.

While the Ranchos location is at the top of their list right now, the Carson Valley Skaters are still looking for other possibilities.

“We’re still looking for the best way to do it,” Chris said.