Saturday, April 06, 2002

Skaters to raise funds for park

Loveland may donate needed land

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LOVELAND — Summer 2003 could see the debut of a skate park in Lever Park.

        About 30 residents, mainly youthful skateboarders, aim to raise up to $100,000 so that a 10,000-square-foot park of ramps, rails and other skateboarding apparatus can be built along West Loveland Avenue.

        City officials have promised to provide the land if the group can finance construction.

        “If there isn't a cost to the city and this group can go and raise the money to do it, ... well, why not?” City Manager Fred Enderle asked. “My experience is, once you build it, they will come and use it.”

        Recreation commissioners will discuss the possibility of donating the land at a 7:30 p.m. Monday session. They have expressed concerns about the skate park's safety and the city's liability because the city would own it.

        Still, on Monday they are expected to vote on recommending approval to city council members. Council will vote on the matter later.

        Resident Tonya O'Brien began gathering support for the skate park in June. She was seeing too many skateboarders try their tricks in dangerous places, including sidewalks and parking lots.

        While there are skate parks in surrounding areas, she noted that most children can't get to them unless parents take them there. “The skateboarders of the community need a place to go,” she said. “Some of these kids can't drive yet.”

        She and other skate park supporters plan to spend the summer preparing grant applications and organizing fund-raising events.

        Construction costs for area skate parks have varied widely. Baker Bowl Skate Park in Middletown cost an estimated $500,000. Miami Township is paying $60,000 to have its skate park built. Its tentative opening is mid-June.

        “My biggest concern is the liability issue if somebody is hurt,” said recreation commission chair Leslie Keller. But, “I believe wholeheartedly that this will be a good thing for the community.

        “If we've got the land, if we have a good place and if this organization is willing to go raise the money themselves and the liability issue is covered, why wouldn't we support it?”


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