Wednesday, December 05, 2001

Skate park on move

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        INDEPENDENCE - Kenton County Commissioner Dan Humpert doesn't know a lot about skate parks — yet.

        Mr. Humpert nonetheless helped the county start rolling toward a new one Tuesday, when Kenton County Fiscal Court unanimously passed a resolution that allows Lexington architectural firm Brandstetter-Carroll & Associates to begin drawing up a design.

        Deputy Judge-executive Scott Kimmich said the cost of a concrete skate park would be around $750,000. County Commissioner Adam Koenig, a member of a volunteer skate park committee, earlier this year said his group has been working on a plan to solicit private donations.

        On Tuesday, however, Mr. Humpert pronounced himself “totally clueless” about skate parks.

        “I will learn as we go along,” he said. “As far as I'm concerned, this is skateboard golf. I'll have to get my knee pads out and my helmet.”

        If Mr. Humpert does that, he'll become part of an increasingly popular sport.

        There is now just one skate park in the Tristate — Middletown's Baker Bowl Skate Park in Smith Park — but at least nine other communities are considering building one.

        Commissioner Barb Black said it's time to offer something for the children who prefer doing tricks on roller blades, skateboards and bicycles to playing football, basketball or soccer.

        “I think this is an unserved part of the population,” Ms. Black said, “Not all young people play sports. Their parents pay tax dollars also.”

        No site has been chosen, but Judge-executive Dick Murgatroyd said one would be in place by the end of February because he wants to see where it will fit in the county's upcoming update of its five-year comprehensive master plan.

        Mr. Murgatroyd said Florence and Covington are thinking about smaller skate parks, and he wants the county to wait until those cities decide what they'll do because he doesn't want Kenton County's park to duplicate any other facility's features.

        Brandstetter-Carroll has completed conceptual drawings for Kenton County, showing how a concrete park with ramps, rails and curves could be configured on an acre of undeveloped land on the north end of Pioneer Park on Ky. 17.


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