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Skate park, Phase 2, underway

Staff Writer

The Skaters’ Coalition for Concrete has secured private donations totaling $20,000 for the second phase of construction at the skate park located at the southern end of Yamaguchi Park, and at Tuesday night’s meeting, the Pagosa Springs town council was asked to help out with the cost of creating construction documents, which will help nail down an accurate cost estimate for the proposed project.

Mike Musgrove, also the chairman for the town’s parks and recreation commission, was on hand to argue the case for the coalition, but there was no need. After a brief explanation of the request by parks and recreation director Tom Carosello, council member Don Volger made a motion to contribute town funds — not to exceed $2,500 — towards half of the $5,000 cost for the documents.

There was no discussion or debate after Tracy Bunning seconded the motion, and the entire matter took less than two minutes to conclude. Volger smiled and nodded towards Musgrove after the vote was completed.

The funds needed to pursue this project have not been allocated by the town in its budget for 2013, so the $2,500 will either be appropriated from capital reserves or come out of an existing line item in the parks and recreation portion of the budget. No indication was given at the meeting concerning which option Town Manager David Mitchem should take.

The skate park project fits well within the town’s comprehensive plan, which states, “Pagosa Springs will improve and maintain its existing parks and, as future growth occurs, improve and maintain the current level of service for parks to provide a full range of high-quality park and recreation facilities.”

Once the construction documents are complete and the coalition has a firm number for how much the project will cost, it will use the money it has already raised from private donors as matching funds to apply for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado. At that point, the coalition will also need the assistance of the town, since GOCO grants are only awarded to local governments, not private nonprofits.

While there was no need for additional arguments from Musgrove at Tuesday night’s meeting, he had presented his case earlier, at the Aug. 20 all-boards work session.

After handing out pictures of the first phase, which already exists in Yamaguchi Park, Musgrove explained, “I met with David Mitchem and Tom Carosello this afternoon to formulate a strategy for getting phase two funded and built. At this time, we don’t have an accurate, hard estimate of how much it’s going to cost. Without the construction documents, all we have is an estimate from the designer. He threw a number at us — he said seventy-five thousand dollars — but Tom and I looked at each other and said, ‘Well, he was about twenty percent low on Phase One, so …’

“Around a hundred thousand dollars is what we think it’s going to cost, but without having the construction documents done, we can’t really get a hard number. The Skaters’ Coalition for Concrete does have twenty thousand dollars to put towards this project, and to pursue a grant it is going to take some funds from the town.”

Musgrove also planned to pursue funding from Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) A-1 funding, noting that Archuleta County had already contributed $50,000 to the construction of the first phase of the skate park.

“I wanted to make sure that town council was behind this project,” Musgrove explained, “and willing to help make it happen, whether it’s by writing grants or adding money to the pot. A good symbol of that commitment would be to split the cost of obtaining the construction documents.”

Other projects the parks and recreation commission has been working on lately include a gazebo that has been donated to the town, trail signs for the paths on Reservoir Hill, and an observation platform proposal from the Friends of Reservoir Hill.

Ed Simpson, one of the newest members of the commission, presented town council with pictures he had taken of the new gazebo as well as the blueprints for the structure, while Musgrove described what it would take to disassemble it and rebuild it at some location within the town. The overall dimensions of the gazebo will by 37 feet by 37 feet, and the town will need to pay for concrete footers once a site has been determined for reconstruction.

Simpson has worked closely with the anonymous donors throughout the years and has taken the lead on the project.

Several locations were suggested for the location of the new structure, including the festival meadow on Reservoir Hill or down by the San Juan River near the newest water feature west of Town Hall and north of the Apache Street bridge, which was created by Chris Pitcher from Riverbend Engineering earlier this summer.

The second project the commission has been working on is mapping Reservoir Hill, including the disk golf course. Musgrove presented council a map with a color-coded system for designating the difficulty of the trails on the hill, similar to what is used by ski areas — green markings for easy trails, blue for intermediate, and black for difficult.

Musgrove described the time he has spent this summer exploring the hill and consulting with Mike Davis from Davis Engineering, who has volunteered his time to help draw an accurate map of all the trails. In addition, the commission plans to replace the current numbering system with actual names for the trails.

After the meeting, Heidi Martinez, the newest member of the town planning commission and a longtime resident of Pagosa Springs, pointed out that the trails on the hill used to have names instead of numbers, and suggested a little research should reveal what those names were.

The final project the parks and recreation commission has been overseeing lately is the observation platform at the top of Reservoir Hill.

Christine Funk, on behalf of the Friends of Reservoir Hill, made a request at town council’s Tuesday night meeting for an approval of the preliminary plans for that structure.

Compared to the skate park, Funk’s project garnered a bit more discussion from the council, with councilor Kathie Lattin asking what purpose the structure was meant to fulfill, and councilor Cotton asking why it was an observation platform instead of a tower, as had been previously proposed.

Funk explained the structure will provide a destination for hikers, shelter in times of inclement weather, a place to relax and reflect on the natural beauty of the surroundings, and will also include educational displays describing the history, geography, geology and ecology of the surrounding area.

Furthermore, while a platform provides a low-cost, low-impact alternative, Funk explained that the structure will be designed so a tower can be added on later if the town so desires and more funds become available.

After Volger’s motion, the council voted unanimously to approve the initial design for the structure and encourage The Friends of Reservoir Hill to continue its good work.

ed.fincher@pagosasun.com

This story was posted on September 5, 2013.