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City OKs City Park site for planned skate park

Jul 9, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The skate area will be 68 feet wide and 166 feet long, with

protective berms on either side.

The City of Riverton has approved a location for a skateboarding facility in City Park.

The Central Wyoming Skate-boarding Association is working to raise money for the facility, and as part of the process the group needed to solidify a spot for the structure.

"Some grants require a specific site ... in order to even apply," city administrator Steven Weaver told the Riverton City Council during a regular meeting last week.

He surveyed several possibilities along with parks supervisor Joel Blury and CWSA co-chairman Matt Wright, and Weaver said it was clear that one spot in particular was most appropriate.

"I thought when we went there we'd find a bunch of locations, but a lot didn't meet the criteria of site requirements," Weaver said.

The park itself will be 68 feet wide and 166 feet long, but protective berms on either side of the facility will extend the plot to 100 feet by 195 feet.

Site options

Weaver said the first site he visited, just west of the City Park tennis courts near Federal Boulevard, wasn't wide enough.

"The berms would start right next to the sidewalk and start going up," he said. "For safety purposes and aesthetics, it would not be a good site, so we ruled that one out."

The next option, just east of the tennis courts and south of the City Park playground, wasn't long enough, Weaver continued. In fact, only one spot seemed like it would work: a patch of grass just north of the tennis courts.

"We all agreed that would be the best location," Weaver said.

The skate facility will run north to south, he added, and it should not interfere with other activities in City Park.

Current facility

There already is a skateboarding park within City Park, but Weaver said there have been some problems with the older facility's location. First, he pointed out that it is close to the City Park band shell, and in the past residents have complained about the noise from skateboarders during local concerts.

"Now the skate park is locked during those events," Weaver said.

The existing skate park also is adjacent to a parking lot that can attract loiterers and give skateboarders a "bad reputation."

"If it was a different location, (people) wouldn't be hanging out there," he said. "(The CWSA is) just looking for a fresh start."

Finally, he said public bathrooms located near the current skating facility pose a safety hazard for skateboarders, who could crash into the structure accidentally.

Once the new skate facility is built, Weaver said the old skate park could be removed, and the city could consider options for the old swimming pool underneath. Weaver said additional parking spaces could be installed on top of the pool, or the space could be used for community events.

"We could make it a shelter area (with) picnic tables," he suggested. "Or just tear it all out and put grass back in."

Funding

The city has set aside $40,000 for park improvements to be used for the skate park, as long as the facility is built in City Park. The CWSA is seeking additional funds from the Wyoming Community Foundation, the state Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Daniels Fund, Warrior Energy Services, the Fremont County Recreation Board and the Fremont County School District 25 Recreation Board.

"CWSA's goal is to raise another $100,000 from the Fremont County area before next June," Wright said in an email to The Ranger. "All local business sponsors who donate $1,000 or more will get a granite brick with their name (or) logo engraved in a walkway leading to the park."

The walkway will be built by Bott Monument in Riverton, he said. Sponsor names also will appear on CWSA T-shirts, banners and websites.

Design

Wright would like to have the first half of the park built by June 2015. The facility was designed by the American Ramp Company in Missouri with "a lot of input from the kids of CWSA in Riverton," according to Wright.

"CWSA is excited to let a professional skate park contractor build this facility on fresh ground, and have a 'blank canvas' to work with," he wrote.

He pointed out that the park will be installed above ground level to allow access for ambulances and emergency medical technicians in case of an accident. The layout also helps avoid water drainage issues, he added.

"(The park) will require very little to no maintenance for probably 30-plus years," Wright said. "It will not need staffing, water (or) electricity."

Beautification

He would like to recruit help from the community to beautify City Park with trees and landscaping surrounding the skate facility.

"We also would like the skate park to be a place to showcase local art," Wright said. "We really think this will be another positive step in the right direction in bringing new life, and a better reputation to City Park. ... We hope other recreation groups will follow suit, and build more amenities to draw the families into City Park. For our skate park to be completely successful, City Park as a whole must be successful."

The CWSA will host a booth during Day in the Park this weekend in order to inform the public about the plans for the skate facility. Wright said a temporary ramp will be placed near the booth, and CWSA members will give skateboarding and biking lessons and tips throughout the event.

The CWSA is partnering with Pagnoni Fitness for a "Water Boot Camp" exercise and fundraiser 6:30-8 p.m. Aug. 8 at City Park followed by a skateboarding/BMX biking/scooter competition at 1 p.m. Aug. 9.

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Riverton City Council