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Skate park construction to begin

Good news for local skateboarders was announced last Friday by Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Supervisor Tom Carosello, who said that the low bidder on a long-awaited skate park project had been contacted regarding the bid award and that construction was imminent.

“I would expect construction to begin within the next seven to ten days,” Carosello said last Friday.

That news also included a gem for members of the Skaters Coalition for Concrete (SCC, the grassroots organization that has worked the past several years to raise money for a skate park) who desired a bowl feature integrated into the park’s design. According to Carosello, “We went to some of the in-kind donors to confirm commitments for work ... that brought the bid in low enough to allow for a bowl.”

After years of delay due to indecision and missteps (mostly regarding initial cost and location), the proposed project looked to be stalled late last year.

Fortunately, the project was revived last December when Pagosa Springs Town Council member Shari Pierce approached Carosello about looking at a scaled down version of the original plan for a skate park, with the intention of requesting town money to finally get started on construction.

What Pierce had proposed was pursuing a smaller, “plaza style” skate park that, while integrating features popular with many beginning skaters (i.e. rails, ramps and ledges), would not include larger (and more expensive) features such as bowls, explaining that town council might approve funding for a scaled-back design.

In January, council voted to allocate $30,000 for the project. At that meeting, Pierce told council, “I think we can build a nice plaza style park for $80,000,” adding, “I think that there’s broad community support for this project ... I think the kids of this community deserve this, they’ve had their hopes dashed so many times.”

The town’s allocation was added to $50,000 provided by the county from 1A parks funds, SCC contributions and in-kind donations (of labor and material) provided by local contractors.

During January’s meeting, SCC representatives expressed some opposition to Pierce’s scaled-back plan (while voicing support that at least something was being put into the ground), mostly due to the design’s lack of a bowl feature that would accommodate more advanced skateboarders.

Council agreed to allow for the integration of a bowl feature into the final design if the SCC could show it could raise the funds to support additional construction.

As of Friday, it appeared that the SCC had met that burden and Carosello confirmed, “The bid allowed for a bowl.”

It remains to be seen if future construction on the skate park will take place. Carosello stated that a minor sidewalk feature was eliminated from the final design due to cost constraints. However, the town provided enough land in Yamaguchi Park to allow for future expansion if the SCC can raise additional funds to add features as desired.

Previous estimates placed construction timelines at anywhere between eight to 10 weeks. If the weather cooperates and contractors can meet those deadlines, local skateboarders should have some time to enjoy their new park before the first snow falls in Pagosa Country.

jim@pagosasun.com

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