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Skate park expansion rolls to finish

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF
The expansion at the skateboard park in City Park debuted on Friday. It features what is known as a street course. Grayson West/Park Record
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Skateboarders and in-line skaters have more elbow-pad room.

The expansion of the skateboard park at City Park opened on Friday, city officials report.

The opening date, though, had been delayed three months. Matt Twombly, a parks planner for City Hall, says that the government originally hoped that the expansion would be finished at the end of June. But bad weather in the spring delayed the project, he says.

"We had issues with wet soils," Twombly says. "That set us back."

Meanwhile, Twombly says that a concrete shortage hurt the project’s timing.

"We had huge projects demanding large amounts of concrete," he says.

The crews also made minor modifications to the plans during the construction, Twombly says.

The skateboard park is a popular spot for youths and teen-agers, with big crowds frequently seen at the park. It opened in 2001 after a lengthy discussion about where to build the park. There were a few ideas and some, including a site outside the Racquet Club in Park Meadows, encountered opposition from neighbors.

Originally, the park was 20,000 square feet. It features bowls, which allow skateboarders and inline skaters to cruise up a side, leap into the air and perform tricks.

The expansion, according to Twombly, adds about 8,000 square feet to the park. It is different in that the new area primarily provides what is known as a street course, different than the bowls of the original park.

A street course features challenges like stairs and rails, which provide the skateboarders and inline skaters varying challenges compared to the original park.

"It just combines all the features the skaters look for," Twombly says. "They want the street and the old pool bowl-style skating."

The skateboard park debuted after a years-long drive by the supporters to build the park. They argued that a skateboard park would be a popular upgrade to Park City’s list of recreation offerings.

Before taking office, Mayor Dana Williams was a chief supporter of the project and as mayor has been committed to the facility. Prior to City Hall building a park, Park City Mountain Resort constructed one but it was not permanent and was later shut down.

Skateboarding’s popularity in Park City is difficult to gauge but the sport has attracted scores of youths, teens, people in their 20s and likely some people older than that. Even after the park’s opening, however, there are still lots of skateboarders seen on roads and on other people’s property.

The Park City Police Department frequently receives complaints about skateboarders in most neighborhoods and skateboarders can sometimes be seen weaving through traffic, including on Main Street, which, northbound, has an uninterrupted downhill pitch.

In Park City, where sports like skiing and snowboarding are popular, the skateboard park is seen as a spot for winter-sports lovers to cut loose when the mountain resorts are closed. The skateboarders especially see the sport as being very similar to snowboarding, with similar body movements and stunts.

The original skateboard park cost City Hall a little more than $400,000, according to Twombly, who pegs the expansion’s price tag at $380,000. He says that the expansion is on budget even after the delays.

The work also included a canopy for shade at a plaza at the skateboard park.

Some people have not waited for the expansion to open to take a test run, Twombly reports. He says that kids have been seen in the park even though it has not opened.

"They want to try out the new stuff," he says. "Everybody’s excited about it, all the skaters."

The skateboard park is open from 9 a.m. until dusk every day and City Hall prohibits food, drinks and smoking at the park, according to rules posted on the city’s Web site. The city does not allow people to skate on curbs, driveways or parking lots at the site and alcohol is not allowed. Skateboards longer than 34 inches are not allowed.

The city recommends that that people wear helmets, gloves, knee and elbow pads, wrist pads and shoes made for skateboarding, the rules say.

The city also suggests that people inspect the park before skating and take out trash or other debris.


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