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City council considers adding a skate park to Dassel

January 28, 2008

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Dassel City Council is considering adding a skate park for the city after hearing a presentation about it Tuesday from Dassel Cokato Middle School students.

The council will make a decision whether to pursue the 3,500-square-foot park by Saturday, March 1, the deadline for grant application for it from the Tony Hawk Foundation.

The skate park proposal is an independent project for eighth graders in teacher Sue Sparboe’s class. Sparboe presented a PowerPoint presentation to the city council, audience in the city offices and cable TV broadcast audience, while students Cheyne Page and Courtney Helmin outlined the project.

Page and Helmin said a skate park would be a good fit for a town the size of Dassel, because there isn’t much safe recreation for their age group. It also would keep skateboarders away from places they aren’t supposed to be, they said.

The eighth graders suggested two possible locations, Breeds Park, and next to the ice skating rink near Red Rooster Industrial Park, on the south side of town.

The concrete in the skate park is estimated to cost $20 to $25 a square foot. They are interested in a skate park similar to the park in Litchfield. The Litchfield skate park cost $34,000, but it includes a BMX bike track, which the eighth graders don’t want in the Dassel version, the girls said.

The proposal includes two or three ramps, two or three steps built into the ground with concrete, and a small, concave “dip” in the concrete floor of the park, similar to the dips in a skate park in Edina, they said.

The girls also said the park should have some kind of bathroom.

GrindLine designs skate parks, and is available to help with the plan, they added.

The Tony Hawk Foundation, which has helped fund skate parks around the US for the past six years, has grants available up to $25,000. The community must have an average annual family income level of about $40,000 and at-risk children to qualify for the grant, they said.

The proposal also includes a garden next to the park in the future for those who don’t want to skateboard, but would enjoy a place to sit and relax instead, the girls said.

The skate park is to be staffed by high school volunteers in the summer. Meeker County Sheriff’s Deputies will watch over the skate park the same way they watch over ball parks and tennis courts, they said.

No alcohol, food or smoking will be allowed at the skate park, and all park users must leave the park at curfew. The skate park will be covered with the same liability protection as ball parks and tennis courts have.

Concrete skate parks don’t require much maintenance, but what maintenance is needed can be provided in the same way it is done for ball parks and tennis courts, they said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• answered questions from Mike Corcoran about his proposal for a housing development between Highway 12 and Spring Lake. Corcoran said he heard a preliminary plat application costs $15,000 to $20,000, so before he applies, he wanted to figure out if his proposal was feasible. City Administrator Myles McGrath told him, however, there is no guarantee that costs for the development will be the same in the future as they are now.

Also, Commissioner Pat Haapala said the planning and zoning commission advised against Corcoran trying to squeeze more lots into the development. The houses would be too close together, and the lots too tight, she said.

• scheduled a “brainstorming” workshop on goals and objectives for Dassel in 2008 and beyond, for Monday, Feb. 11, at 5 p.m. in Hojies Grill & Smokehouse in Dassel.

• heard from Mayor Ava Flachmeyer that she invited the League of Minnesota Cities to have its fall regional conference in Dassel to showcase the city.