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Skate park nears halfway point on fundraising; city turns down new request

May 15, 2014 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Members of the Central Wyoming Skateboarding Association were hoping to secure another donation from the City of Riverton in the next fiscal year for their planned skate park during the city council meeting last week.

"Tight" budget projections, however, made it difficult for the city to promise another $40,000 for the association as fundraising continues.

"We've got a lot on our plate fiscally, so I think an additional $40,000 is going to be a pretty tough sell," mayor Ron Warpness told association chairman and co-chairman Chris McNeil and Matt Wright.

City administrator Steven Weaver said that because the $40,000 that was approved was not spent last year, the line item would be moved to the next year's budget. So committing to an

additional $40,000 would mean the city would have to provide $80,000.

"This has been a tight budget year for us," Weaver said. "It's going to be tough."

Weaver said large construction projects in the city, such as runway work at Riverton Regional Airport next year would make any new donation difficult.

"We're trying to give you some heads up. We don't have that money," council member Richard Gard said.

The association has received a donation of $30,000 from the Fremont County School District 25 Recreation Board and $7,000 from the Fremont County Recreation Board. Private donors also are coming in. CWSA raised about $33,000 last year through private fundraising. So far about $110,000 has been raised, Wright said, toward a goal in the $270,000 range.

McNeil and Wright presented the council with updates on their skate park plans. They said Dreamland Skateparks set a construction date for June 15, 2015 for the new skate park. Dreamland also built the new skate park in Lander.

The location remains undecided, but the planners listed the old swimming pool area or tennis court area at Riverton City Park, or land in Jaycee Park, as possible locations. In their plans, they highlighted high visibility, demolition work costs, square footage as important components to consider.

They said their top choice would be at the tennis court location because their proposed design fit best in that square footage. Council member Martin Cannan said he didn't favor taking out the tennis courts despite their bad condition.

"I personally don't like trading one recreation activity for another," Cannan said.

Warpness suggested Tonkin Stadium as a possible location for the skate park. In order to advance in grant applications, Wright said a decision on location would be needed.

The planners also asked about placing a sign on Federal Boulevard and Main Street that showed their fundraising progress. The council didn't approve the sign, having denied the same request from other local groups and event organizers.

McNeil said his association would remain optimistic in continued fundraising.

"When we get closer to construction we'll get more an idea on in-kind matches that we'll be able to put into some of these grants," McNeil said.

Weaver also reminded the council that third-party money requests would be discussed in the next work session and that staff would be recommending a 15 percent reduction on all requests.

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