City wants to hear from skaters on park plans

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They can help choose equipment for city facility on Jan. 26

By Jenna McKenna

Skaters, mark your calendars! Three skate park designers and vendors will be at Chiefland City Hall on Jan. 26, looking for your input on the city’s new skating court, to be built at Delma Locke Park behind Chiefland middle and high schools.

The city’s Recreation Committee met Thursday to review submissions by four designers whose proposals had been requested by Project and Finance Coordinator Laurie Copeland. Copeland explained in detail the proposals of three of these: American Ramp Company (ARC), Rampage and REP Services/Skatewave. The fourth vendor, Spohn/Urban 8 Design, would not agree to a material standard the city could meet, and would not warrantee materials accessible by the city; hence, Spohn’s proposal has been rejected.

Copeland said the vendors had been given a budget of $92,000, and had responded with a variety of designs. ARC submitted three off-the-shelf designs, including one each from its all-steel Pro Series, all-concrete Solo Series, and tri-layer, Skatelite-surfaced X-Series, but offered to design a one-of-a-kind park just for Chiefland, all within the stated budget.

Rampage offered designs in all steel and Skatelite surfaces, and REP Services offered an all-steel design only. All the steel-surfaced courts will be powder-coated, which reduces daylight heat absorption to a level comparable to Skatelite.

Copeland said manufacturers assured her that even in installations in Arizona and Nevada, “no skaters have ever been burned.”

Committee members seemed most impressed by the ARC and Rampage offerings, since, as Copeland noted, both firms offer a complete design-to-installation product.

“They have professional skateboarders and skate park designers on staff, and they’ve both designed courses for the X Games,” she said.

REP Services is a vendor of Skatewave components with offices in Florida. Installation is contracted through Johnny Pitts Construction.

Copeland said the three qualifying vendors offered similar warrantees for their products – 20 years for powdercoated steel, 15 years for concrete and five years for Skatelite. Although Skatelite is by far the preferred surface for competition – its smoothness and cushioning help reduce noise and injuries and enhance the ride – it is by far the least durable surface.

“All the vendors told me straight out, ‘If you’re going to have an unsupervised park, and there’s a chance people will ride bikes on it, you don’t want Skatelite,” said Copeland.

The skate park at Delma Locke will not be supervised, although committee members agreed the park hours should be adjusted to accommodate daylight use only. This will cut down on noise, they said. There will be no additional lighting at the park.

Committee members also liked the fact that the powdercoated steel was said to be highly resistant to graffiti, unlike concrete and Skatelite. All the proposals submitted had open plans, with the elements enclosed by mesh rather than concrete, which would be more costly but, again, would reduce noise.

Copeland said the vendors were very excited about making their presentations on Jan. 26.

“It’s cold where they are, and they’re hoping it’s warm here.”

Committee members said they were also looking forward to hearing public opinion.

“It’s a lot of money, and if we don’t get their input, we might end up with a park nobody uses,” she said, referring to a costly basketball court-turned-skate park in Dunnellon that skaters shunned because of its rough surface.

The city will post signage stating that use of the skate park is unsupervised and at the users’ own risk. Users under age 18 must go with their guardians to City Hall to register to use the park.

Vice Mayor Teresa Barron said that following the public input session, the committee will make an immediate decision if it feels comfortable with the consensus. If not, members will have until Feb. 28 to decide. Either way, action on the park will go on the agenda for the Feb. 19 meeting. Copeland said vendors have guaranteed their bids for 60 days after submission.

The presentations on Jan. 26 will be from 3-5 p.m., and each vendor will have 30 minutes to speak and show video or other documentation. The floor will then be opened for questions.

For more information, or to view documents submitted by vendors, visit Chiefland City Hall or call 352-493-6711.

To view more designs or videos from the vendors, visit the following:

Rampage: http://www.skateparkramps.com

American Ramp Company: http://www.americanrampcompany.com

REP Services/Skatewave: http://www.repservices.com/products_skateparks.php and http://www.skatewave.com