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Skateboarders, in-line skaters hope for future skatepark

Staff reports

Skateboarders and in-line skaters got a glimpse of what they hope the future will bring Sunday at C.C. Meneley Elementary School.

Skate Jam, an event organized by Out of Bounds Board Shop and the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Department, drew 120 skaters to the school parking lot. The skaters had the opportunity to practice a variety of tricks on ramps, rails and other obstacles built by Out of Bounds owner Eric Robie and a friend.

“It went real well,” Robie said. “We had a good turnout of good kids with good attitudes.

“Skateboarding needs a better image. It’s too stereotyped as a bunch of punk kids on the streets. We decided to bring it to the community and put (the skaters) in a constructive environment rather than a destructive one.”

Members of the Carson Valley Skaters, who are trying to organize the building of a skate park in the Carson Valley, used Skate Jam to raise money for the project. Skaters were asked to seek donations based on the hours they skated at the all-day event.

“The need for a skate park has been here for a long time,” said Patty O’Sullivan, president of Carson Valley Skaters, who added that it will be at least a week before all the donations are collected and the skaters know how much they raised. “A group tried about four or five years ago, but that one fizzled out due to a lack of parental support.

“Our major holdup is everyone agrees there’s a need, but no one wants it in their backyard.”

Backers of the local skate park would like to see a 20,000-square-foot facility built. O’Sullivan said it could cost as much as $6 to $8 per square foot to build the park – or $120,000 to $160,000. And that doesn’t include maintenance and operation costs.

Carson City has a 12,000-square-foot skate park, O’Sullivan said, and South Lake Tahoe has an 8,000-square-foot skate park.

“We’re selling snow cones for the local skate park,” said Scott Jackson of Teens With a Future. “We’re getting closer to our goals. It was really tough before, but now the sheriff’s department has really jumped to help us.”

Sunday’s participants at the Skate Jam ranged from adults to a 3-year-old skateboarder. Boys and girls skated the same ramps at the event.

“The kids had such a great time,” O’Sullivan said. “Everyone got along. There were no problems.”

For one day, at least, skaters had a place to call their own. A place to skate. A place to hang out with their friends.

“It would be cool if we built a skate park,” said 14-year-old Shara Thiesen. “Kids would have somewhere to skate and wouldn’t get in trouble so much.”

Sally card was among the many parents watching the action at Skate Jam. She, too, believes building a skate park in the Carson Valley is a good idea.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve got three boys with me here today,” she said. “All three skateboard, in-line and ride bikes a lot. They go to the skate park when they’re in Carson a lot.”

Sheryl Christian, recreation coordinator for the parks and recreation department, worked with the Out of Bounds people to organize the Skate Jam.

“The kids asked if we could do it every weekend,” Christian said. “It turned out to be a really good day.”

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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