Winter Park: Skatepark expansion will include features for beginners
March 26, 2009
When the skatepark in Hideaway Park opened two summers ago, those who led the effort weren’t sure how much it would be used.
“We didn’t know,” said Winter Park Councilor Chris Seemann. “We expected maybe 10 or 15 kids a day.”
Instead, the skatepark is busy whenever the weather allows, with 40 skaters at a time on weekends.
“It’s a such a great things for this community,” Seemann said. “We’re so happy about it.”
At any one time, the age range of people using the skatepark spans from 5-year-olds trying it for the first time to men like Seemann in their 40s.
With the overwhelming response, the Winter Park Town Council is looking at plans to expand the skatepark this summer. The plans will almost double the size of the park, with added features for beginners.
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“We’ll have more street features,” Seemann said. “More curbs and boxes.”
The Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District has been offering lessons in the park during the summer. Seemann said the instructors had to take kids out of the skatepark and onto the sidewalk to teach them certain skills – like curbs. The new features will allow beginners to stay in the park while they learn.
With sales tax collections down and an unpredictable economy, the Winter Park Town Council won’t say “yes” to the expansion until May when sales tax figures are in for February and March.
The town budgeted for a 10 percent shortfall in taxes. If the drop is more than planned, the skatepark expansion will be put on hold until the economy improves.
For now, the council is hoping for the best.
If they say “yes” to the expansion, work will begin in the late summer. Construction will take eight to 10 weeks. The work could be complete by September.
For the construction, Winter Park will work use Grindline Skateparks, the company that created the first phase of the skatepark.
“We’re struggling with the closing of the park during construction,” said Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson. “The company knows that people will want to skate and they will stage the construction to minimize closing the whole park.”
Once the ski resort closes, Winter Park will hold a dig out event at the skatepark, Nelson said, to clear all the snow from the park bowls so the concrete can dry out for another summer of skating.
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