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Skate park plans approved

by Merrie Leininger

The skaters of Douglas County are one step closer to having a place of their own.

The Parks and Recreation commission approved – to loud and long applause – a design concept Thursday night during a meeting at the county administration building on Eighth Street in Minden.

The park is scheduled to be built in late summer in the area of Lampe Park between the tennis courts and the playground.

The room was filled with teen-age boys excited about the park. Many of them were there to ensure their work wasn’t overlooked. Many of the teens and their families have been involved from the very beginning of planning and design.

They were all nodding their heads when Parks and Recreation board member Stan Lamb, a big proponent of the park, said it will be the best skatepark in the state.

“It’s an ideal park. I bet it will be the best one around,” said Dan O’Sullivan, owner of Ballistic Skate Shop. “They have incorporated a lot of safety issues other parks haven’t looked at. They have taken insight from the skaters. There is no reason to go street skating at businesses. This park will have room for progression at all levels.”

Robb Fellows of Lumos and Associates and Airick Valenzuela headed up the design team. Fellows said the park is estimated to cost between $146,000 and $183,000, depending on the cost of concrete, and without the cost of a retaining wall.

He said the next step is design approval by county staff.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Morgan said the design addresses all concerns from neighbors of noise, aesthetics and lighting. The design leaves most of the trees in the area and the use of berms will help reduce the noise. No additional lighting will be added, so there will be no night skating.

Valenzuela, who designed the park in South Lake Tahoe, said at 24,500 square feet, it will be four times bigger than the Carson City park and five times bigger than Tahoe.

For safety reasons, there are designated areas for beginners, intermediate and advanced skaters with 30 feet between each obstacle.

Morgan said safety has been the number one concern. He said the park was enlarged because of that. Now, the park has a “crash factor” of 2, on a scale where 1 is the lowest and 10 is the highest.

Concern from Sunset Park residents regarding increased traffic and parking on Hampton Street was addressed by Morgan, who said the skatepark will be connected to the parking area with a walkway and bushes and a fence will be placed between it and Hampton Street.

Board member David Brady said he was concerned the large bowl element was added at a $30,000 cost. However, the designers said they have always insisted the park would be the best they could provide, and the element was needed to ensure skaters who become more advanced will continue to use the park. Morgan said the board would not skimp on quality.

Lamb made a motion to approve the design and continue onto engineering and it was seconded by Brady.