Council OKs $40,000 for skate park planning; fundraising to continue

Nov 7, 2013 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

The Riverton City Council and Mayor Ron Warpness have voted to award the Central Wyoming Skateboarding Association $40,000 to help with construction costs for a new skate park at City Park in Riverton.

The organization, which has relied heavily on fundraising and in-kind donations, presented detailed design plans to the council on Oct. 15. Its also has received a $5,000 grant from The Tony Hawk Foundation that needs to be used within two years of the date awarded.

How much?

Before Tuesday's vote, the council went into a short discussion on options to allot only a portion of the amount and that the funds were being promised early in the budget year. Council member Eric Heiser reminded the council that when a group of residents came to the council regarding funds for the improvements to Jaycee Park, the council also voted to award the full line item amount.

Council member Lars Baker brought attention to the group being formed by the city to help develop a parks master plan and whether it would need funds.

"I feel like we're short-circuiting that committee," Baker said.

City administrator Steven Weaver said it was too early to be certain that the parks committee would be needing funding soon. So far, six applications have been received for that committee that would be in charge of drafting ideas and provide recommendations to help improve the parks in Riverton. He said there was still time for interested citizens to submit their applications.

"I think that group would have a very good chance of solidifying funding from an outside source," Heiser said.

Weaver said there could be other funds from the city's budget that could be pulled if necessary, for that committee.

"I don't think this $40,000 is going to break the city one way or the other," council member Jonathan Faubion said.

Thumbs up and ice cream

Co-chairman of the organization Matt Wright gave a thumbs up to the other members present from CWSA as the council voted unanimously.

"We've had verbal support from the city ever since the very beginning when we presented our ideas a year ago, but this financial commitment from the city is a huge motivation for us to keep working harder," Wright said.

"Raising $28,000 cash on our own was great, but now with municipality support it's going to help people believe it's going to happen."

If it weren't for persistent fundraising, Wright said the substantial financial support from others might not have happened. He announced that Back Door Consultants from Riverton also pledged this week to help CWSA with an additional $5,000.

"We're ecstatic about it," CWSA member Toby Lewis said expressing optimism as the CWSA looks into matching the funds with other grants.

"The whole club is pretty stoked that the city is behind us," CWSA member Josh Ballard said. "This is going to help us tremendously."

Wright said the planners hope to continue promoting the park and "lead the way in developing it more" in a positive tone.

"The city put up a big flag and waived it high," Wright said, adding that after the council meeting, the members of CWSA were treated to ice cream and shared the news by telephone with organization chairman Chris McNeil, who was unable to attend.

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