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Skate park may be relocated

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

The location of Douglas County’s skate park will depend on how quickly ownership of 22 acres of private pasture land is decided.

County leaders indicated Thursday they want to move the facility from a planned location in Lampe Park across Waterloo Lane to an area near the existing parks and recreation offices. The move will hinge on how quickly the county can get the land if an offer to donate it stands.

The 22 acres are part of a 30.5-acre parcel owned by Herbig Properties Ltd. Herbig wants to develop 7.68 acres along Highway 395 and has offered to give the rest to Douglas County to expand Lampe Park.

The skate park is planned for the south side of Lampe Park, but construction has been delayed because no bids came in at the county’s $250,000 price. Based on County Manager Dan Holler’s estimate that a contract won’t be ready until November at the earliest, the county commissioners said they think waiting to see if the county gets the Herbig land is worthwhile.

“It sounds as though maybe we’re moving it out two to three months. In my mind, that’s very tolerable for a much (better) location,” said Commissioner Jacques Etchegoyhen.

“It doesn’t sound like there’s a loss either way,” added Commissioner Bernie Curtis.

A tentative schedule developed by Holler says the skate park could be built by May 2001 if the Herbig land can be acquired by December. He said design and engineering plans that have already been done for the Lampe site could also be used for the Herbig site.

The idea of moving the park drew mixed reactions from an audience that included several skaters.

Parks and recreation commissioner Stan Lamb asked the county board to set a specific deadline for breaking ground at the Herbig site, saying he’s worried the project will be delayed indefinitely if legal complications occur.

Patty O’Sullivan and Norma Cole urged the commission to stay with the Lampe site, arguing more delays are unacceptable.

“This is ridiculous. Don’t drag these kids through this,” said O’Sullivan. “You are teaching them that they don’t count. Just stand by your word and do it.”

The commission originally voted unanimously for the Lampe site, and in 1999 a fall 2000 date was projected for completion of the park.

Commissioner Kelly Kite said the county is bound by construction bidding rules and isn’t trying to block the skate park.

“We are going ahead to put the skate park in as soon as we possibly can,” he said.

Holler said other potential uses for the 22 acres include a BMX track and an in-line skating or roller hockey facility.