Teen committee finalizes plan for park

Skate park upgrades on line with equipment purchase

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More than 30 Craig teens went before the Craig City Council, and the City Council listened.

After hearing the teens proposal to build a skate park, the Council formed a committee composed primarily of teens that also included City Parks and Recreation Director Dave Pike. Eventually, a budget of $25,000 was allotted, and through a bid process, a company was found to build equipment for the park.

"These kids did a great job," Pike said. "They stuck to the task, did the research, reviewed the bids. They really put it together," he said. "Once the city put the committee together, the kids elected officers, examined the options and got to work."

Several years ago, the city donated the old tennis courts in East Park to be used as a skate park. The teens originally installed their own equipment, but it has deteriorated and in unsafe.

"The city wanted to pool information on what was needed, what people wanted, and after a City Council meeting we formed a board," said Martin Beckett, President of the skate park committee. "The City Council was really enthused to hear our input, and wanted to work toward meeting our needs."

To get a park built immediately, the committee decided to use the abandoned tennis courts in East Park. Since the new ramps are to be placed in the old courts, the teens felt it best if the ramps and rails were transportable. Ideally, the skate ramps can broken down and moved to the covered picnic area at the Moffat County Fairgrounds in the winter, allowing almost year-round access for the skaters, Pike said.

The committee called in Mountain Ramp, Inc., to consult. Mountain Ramp builds and sells a variety of skate ramps and surfaces, from small single pieces to complex parks. After working with Mountain Ramp, the committee asked for bids that would fit the $25,000 budget and meet the requirements established.

"The first bid cycle was unsuccessful, so we started a second. We worked it down to two bids that were close in cost. We went with Mountain Ramp, Inc., because they were local, and if there were problems, they would be only half a day away," said Pike.

The Mountain Ramp surfaces and ramps have wooden frames finished with Skate-Lite Pro. The ramps are built allow so they can be broken down into several large pieces and moved in the winter, perfectly meeting the requirements set by the committee, and coming in under budget.

"This was pretty unique," said Angela West, Project Manager for Mountain Ramp, Inc. West knows of a couple of times where groups of teens have worked with cities, but to have the city allot the money to get the local kids a park is fairly out of the ordinary.

"Usually the kids go to the city and then end up raising some of the money themselves," West said.

The support of the Craig City Council is a big deal, according to West.

"Cities and Parks and Rec departments are finally realizing that skateboarding and inline skating are here to stay. They're great exercise and activities for the kids, and these kids need a place to go."

West said the construction of the ramps will begin in a week and that the park will be completed and on location by mid-May.

The committee is being kept together to handle upkeep and expansion, and to deal with painting and moving the ramps, Pike said. That expansion could include a concrete bowl if the city can get the funds from Great Outdoors Colorado, a lottery-based fund.

"The mobile angle [of the ramps] is just beautiful," Beckett said. "Last winter, we set up a little park in the pavilion with Bill Sixkiller's permission, and that set-up just got used and used and used.

"Actually, that park and its popularity were pretty much the beginning of this whole process," he said.

With the winter installation of the new ramps, Beckett said there will be a large draw from surrounding communities, bringing people and money into Craig, and to the park.

Once the park is running, Beckett and other committee members plan to hold monthly contests that will allow the park to pay for its own improvements and repairs.

"The park will make money. And, as the skills of the skaters and the money grows, we'll be able to add more advanced set-ups.

"This is a great start for Craig. Craig really needed something like this."

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