Vail skaters ask for new park |

Vail skaters ask for new park

eagle county correspondent
Special to the Daily/John CummingsMason Babcock catches air at the Lionshead skate park July 3, 2004.

VAIL ” What skateboarders want to be permanent, town council members see as temporary.

Skateboarders have had to travel down the valley to skateboard because of Vail’s lack of a skateboard park the last two years. Now town councilors would spend $170,000 to build a wooden, temporary park on top of the Lionshead parking garage, where the old one was located. But skateboarders would prefer a permanent indoor or concrete skateboard park.

David Van Norman, employee at the Board Room in Avon and skateboarder for five years, said that the town council should spend the money on the permanent park instead of the temporary park.

Van Norman worried that Vail would fail to properly maintain the temporary one, as it has in the past, he said. Because the wooden ramps were warped from the snow, no one could safely skate it during its last year, he said.

Despite that, he said the park was of high quality.

“I liked it ” it had a wide variety,” he said.

Todd Oppenheimer, capital project manager for Vail, said the town would disassemble the ramps and store them during winter.

Mike Penhale, Board Room employee and skateboarder for 12 years, said that he and other skateboarders want an indoor or concrete park, but that the temporary one would suffice.

“I would be grateful for it,” Penhale said. “But they’ll have to take it down for most of the year because our summer lasts three months.”

That’s why it makes sense for Vail to build an indoor skatepark that could be used all year, the skateboarders said.

Thirteen skateboarders attended a Feb. 2 meeting with town staffers where they expressed a number of concerns, including that Vail should use skateboarder-owned companies to design the park.

Oppenheimer said 12 to 15 companies were interested in building the park. Their proposals are due Monday, he said. Town staffers and skateboarders will meet Feb. 21 to review the proposals and select a company with which to work.

Most of the companies have professional skateboarders involved in their operations, Oppenheimer said.

Oppenheimer was also looking at other concerns, from the “flow” between each ramp or rail to the material of the ramps’ surface, he said.

Vail could sell the equipment to another community once it finds a place for a permanent skate park, he said.

Councilman Farrow Hitt said the council wanted a temporary park because it has had difficulty finding a place for a permanent skatepark. Hitt said he thought the council would eventually find a spot for a permanent park ” possibly in Ford Park, Buffer Creek or in the Chamonix neighborhood in West Vail.

“Some of us see it as dragging on and on and never deciding where it would be,” Hitt said. “We just don’t think that’s fair to our youth right now.”

Hitt said the temporary park’s equipment would be “top notch.”

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.