After much discussion and several public meetings, Blaine City Council approved $5,000 to rebuild a temporary skate park until staff and community can arrive at a more long term solution.
The resolution takes a three-pronged approach by allowing the city to remove aging and dangerous equipment currently at the park; create a fund to build new ramps; and give a preliminary nod of approval to youth, parents and community members who have pledged to revitalize the Blaine Extreme Sports Club and organize community fundraising for future projects.
The council voted 5-2 with Scott Dodd and Jason Overstreet opposed.
Blaine city planner Alex Wenger said residents can expect new ramps no more than 30 inches high with construction beginning in March or April. Removal of the old equipment will begin immediately.
“We want to have it ready to go for the sunny weather,” he said.
In Monday’s meeting, Overstreet said he supported the idea of a skate park, but could not justify spending $5,000 when the city has just passed a trails plan that includes a weighty list of priority items. He added that the city’s decision to use more wood material would likely result in deterioration within a number of years.
“I’m all for endorsing citizen groups to find alternatives, but get some pipes or something metal that won’t deteriorate,” he said. “I have a hard time building new wood ramps. It’s like driving a new car off the lots and it depreciates in value immediately.”
Paul Greenough said he understood Overstreet’s concerns but that the city would be using exterior quality, marine-grade wood that is designed to last more than 10 years and that the wood will be treated with Skatelite, a protective laminate.
He added that, long-term visioning aside, youth in the community need something to keep themselves occupied in the short-term.
“One of the problems is that we need to give kids something to do right now and we need something cheap and fast,” he said.
Blaine community development director Terry Galvin told council members that although he had originally opposed the idea, he had a change of heart after the large show of community support, especially among skateboarding youth.
“We’re really impressed with the kids and the parents who have demonstrated a desire to use this park and maintain it over a long period of time,” he said. “You wanted to see the community support and we’ve seen it. I think it would be $5,000 well spent.”
In the meantime, Wenger said the city is working with parents and community groups to develop a concept of a future park and that any donations or volunteer labor would be helpful. Wenger said volunteers to conduct welding or metal work are especially needed.
“Hopefully these kids keep the momentum going,” he said.
For more information, contact Alex Wenger at 332-8311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.