Thursday, October 18, 2001

Skate park gaining support

Kenton Fiscal Court latest to back efforts

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDEPENDENCE — Kenton Fiscal Court has become the 15th government in the county to support the development of a regional skate park in Pioneer Park.

        As skating has become more popular, more communities have passed laws banning skaters from sidewalks and parking lots. A skate park would give enthusiasts a place to practice their tricks, supporters say.

        There is now only one free public skateboard park in the Tristate — Middletown's Baker Bowl Skate Park in Smith Park.

        However, at least nine Tristate communities are considering building skate parks.

        “Everywhere we go, every one of our clients is talking about a skate park,” said Patrick Hoagland, principal and landscape architect with Brandstetter Carroll Inc. The company, which has offices in Cincinnati, Lexington and Columbus, has done some conceptual drawings for Kenton County showing how a concrete skate park with ramps, rails and curves could be configured on an acre of undeveloped land at the north end of Kenton County's Pioneer Park, which is off Ky. 17.

        “The next step would be to have a meeting in the next month or so for all these skateboarder kids to tell us the type of park they want,” said Fort Wright Administrator Larry Klein, who is heading a countywide skate park committee.

        County officials anticipate having the youths' recommendations by the first of the year, said Scott Kimmich, Kenton County's deputy judge-executive.

        Kenton County Commissioner Adam Koenig, a member of the skate park committee, said the group is working on a plan to solicit donations from the private sector.

        Mr. Kimmich said county officials have not yet decided whether to rely solely on private contributions to build a skate park, which can cost as much as $700,000. He said local companies will be approached about donating labor and/or materials for the project.

        At Tuesday's Kenton Fiscal Court meeting, eight teen-aged boys from Fort Mitchell, Covington and Independence asked officials not to forget stunt bikes when a skate park is developed.

        “These bikes are designed for aggressive bicycling, very much like a BMX bicycle,” said Joan Davidson of Fort Mitchell. She said bicyclists do much the same tricks as skateboarders, using bicycles instead of skateboards.

        Mrs. Davidson's son, Mitchell, 14, said that he has visited a skate park in Indianapolis that lets skaters and bikers use the facility on alternating days.

        “They have certain times for each,” Mitchell said, adding that the daily trade-off is handled on an honor system.

        Members of Kenton Fiscal Court said that they will consider the youths' recommendations in developing plans for a skate park.


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- Skate park gaining support