Skate park upgrades underway

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Rad rails and stoked aerials are what some children, and possibly a few adults, are attempting to complete today on the northeast side of Craig.

As soon as school was dismissed Wednesday afternoon, teens began to line up on the former tennis courts of East Park, waiting for the installation of the city's new skate park equipment.

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Rick Fasen, owner of Mountain Ramp, adds the finishing touches to East Park's new skate park equipment. Mountain Ramp has constructed more than a dozen similar projects throughout Colorado, and have even traveled overseas to build a skate park for the Marine Corps in Japan.

"We started Tuesday about 1 p.m.," said Rick Fasen, owner of Mountain Ramp, the Boulder company contracted for the project. "We should be finished some time this evening."

As darkness began to set in, the children remained huddled around the newly constructed ramps, waiting patiently for permission to skate.

"They have to let everything set," a skateboard-toting youngster yelled to some newcomers. "They said that we might still be able to use it by tonight, though!"

Construction was completed about 8:30 p.m., and eager boarders and skaters were able to finally take to the ramps.

"It's awesome," skater Shane Brasleton said. "It's better than what we had before. That one was like it was homemade, but this one is great!"

Fasen, a former electrical engineer/skateboarder turned skate-park developer, said his company has constructed 10 to 12 similar ramps throughout Colorado, and has even worked internationally.

"We just did a ramp over in Japan for the Marine Corps," he said. "They have all of the children on the base who were asking for one, and we were able to win the bid and go over and do the job. It was a really neat experience going over there and working in that culture."

The ramps are constructed of a material called Skate-Lite, a combination of a wood undercoating with a hard, durable, plastic-like top surface.

"This is a great product when you are forced to deal with the elements that you see here in Colorado," Fasen said. "It is safe, tough and structurally solid. I really wouldn't be at all surprised if this structure lasted ten years."

Mountain Ramp warranties Skate-Lite for five years against any major structural damage, and Fasen has been the recipient of few complaints.

"Once in a while we get a call from someone complaining that a scratch has been put in one of the ramps," he said. "There really isn't anything we can do in that situation, because that can happen with enough use. But as far as major problems go, we fortunately haven't seen any."

After the ramps are ordered, they are pre-fabricated at the Boulder location, and then brought to the site, where construction is completed. They are also transported in different pre-measured pieces, which allows for a faster and better quality product for the customers.

"Once we get here, most of the difficult work is done," he said. "All we have to do is put it together, and make sure it is set."

The Skate Park is considered a street structure, and includes ramps, rails and transitions. Similar parks have become a major attraction for bikers, boarders and in-line skaters throughout the U.S.

"I think it is looking terrific," Councilor Tom Gilchrist said. "This is kind of Phase I of the project. I know that the kids would really like to do more in the future to make the park even better. There certainly is enough room."

Future plans may include laying a new surface and possibly building a concrete bowl. The park is also mobile, which will allow it to be moved to the Moffat County Fairgrounds in the winter.

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