For an evening, skaters get their say
About 25 skateboard fanatics were assigned a homework project Monday that could lead to Duluth's first large skate park. If the skaters raise another $16,230 between now and next spring, construction on their long awaited skate park will begin. S...
About 25 skateboard fanatics were assigned a homework project Monday that could lead to Duluth's first large skate park.
If the skaters raise another $16,230 between now and next spring, construction on their long awaited skate park will begin.
Skateboarders and skate park committee members met at Wheeler Field, so the users could see the exact spot and size of their future skate park.
The park would sit within a peanut-shaped bowl about the length of a tennis court at 35 Avenue West and Grand Avenue.
Within the bowl would be obstacles they could skate, leap and jump on, such as steps, rails and ramps.
While the skaters liked the size, some had qualms with the shape, preferring more of a square.
"It needs to be tweaked more," Duluth skater Cameron Birkhofer, 16, said.
But Taylor Leege, owner of Freestyle of Duluth skate shop, said he loves how it looks, and expects that this park will draw skaters from across the state.
"They're in real short supply," Leege said of great parks. He said the closest comparable one is in Edina, Minn.
Because the park is going to sit at Wheeler Field, Tammi Erickson, who lives across the street, said she expects few if any neighbors will oppose it.
Several bocce ball players, whose court will sit next to the proposed skate park, said they are concerned about the noise and potential vandalism.
The design calls for some trees to create a buffer.
The projected cost stands at $428,332. Of that, the skate park committee plans to ask the city for $264,732.
Over the years, $147,370 has been raised through grants and city and county funds.
That leaves $16,230, which Jim Topie, vice president of the Parks and Recreation Commission and co-chairman of the skate park committee, asked the skaters to raise.
It's important to get them involved, so they learn that it's not just about adults doing all the work, he said.
The older skaters at the meeting, who were in their 20s, were pushing hard for the skaters in their teens to get involved.
"This is just an awesome opportunity," said Jack Boyd, co-owner of Damage Boardshop in Duluth. "Look, they're actually asking us what we want."
PATRICK GARMOE covers the Duluth community and city government. He can be reached weekdays at (218) 723-5229 or at pgarmoe@ duluthnews.com.