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Skatepark meetings next month

by Merrie Leininger

Residents of the Ranchos and proponents of a skatepark there might be interested in attending the Aug. 5 and Aug. 21 meetings of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

The commission will discuss the proposed skateboard park on the corner of Tillman and Patricia drives.

Community Services Director Scott Morgan, who oversees the Parks and Recreation department, said the commission is required to give public notice of the hearings so those who live near the proposed site have a chance to speak their minds.

“We have to make sure we get the maximum input from our neighbors. The county says we have to notice people who live within 325 feet, and we have chosen to double that. They have all been noticed of the meeting,” Morgan said.

Morgan said he wants to make it clear the park is only on paper so far, and neighbors have every right to say they don’t want it near them.

“It’s not far along at all. It is an idea at this point, and the reason we hold meetings is to see if it’s a good idea or not,” Morgan said. “It’s real important to note this is just a proposal, a conceptual plan to show what we’re talking about. Based on what public says, if they say people don’t want it at this site, it won’t be there.”

Morgan said most of the calls to his office have been positive and he has even received offers for volunteer labor and materials to help build the park.

“There’s been four or five letters in opposition from people with property located next to the facility, but the support has been overwhelming; from people who skate and from business owners who don’t want the kids skating out in front of their businesses, and the police department,” he said. “It’s something that’s needed. We know the skaters exist, it would be nice for enforcement if business owners and officers would be able to say, ‘We have a skateboard park now, go skate there.’ It’s something that has been missing for a long time.”

The proposal the commission will hear includes $366,191 worth of play space for skaters and BMX riders. The area will also include a parking lot, water fountains, sidewalks and lots of trees and bushes.

“What we’ll be presenting is staff report costs and how we intend to maintain facilities, like twice-a-day checks and picking up trash,” he said.