By Roz Kohls
DASSEL, MN Dassel City Council members were puzzled Tuesday why there are objections to the location of the proposed skate park in the horseshoe pits next to Saints Ball Field. They are making plans to find out what, specifically, the objections are.
The crowds and commotion at the ball field make more noise, and the stadium lights seem more of an irritant than the proposed 100-foot-by-80-foot skate park, according to Public Works Director Dave Scepaniak.
Council Member Alesia Warner reported Tuesday, and Council Member Pat Haapala has reported in the past, hearing numerous residents object to having the proposed park where the unused horseshoe pits are on the north side of town.
Warner said residents might be objecting because children at the ball games are supervised by their parents, while children at the skate park won’t have their parents with them.
Mayor Mike Scanlon said people who object to the proposed location might be visualizing the park as being much closer to residences than what is planned. He suggested making a map to scale, showing how close the park will be to the city’s water department, ball field, school bus garage and residences in the neighborhood.
A privacy fence also can be erected between the skate park and residences, Council Member Bob Lalone suggested.
Most of the other locations considered in the city for the park are too small or too narrow, such as the park by the railroad tracks, pointed out Council Member Bob Wilde.
The horseshoe pit is a prime location. All the utilities are there, and the park closes at 10 p.m. “It would be perfect,” said Scepaniak.
The skate park plan is still in the early stages, however.
In January 2008, Dassel-Cokato Middle School students Courtney Helmin and Cheyne Page presented a proposal for a skate park in Dassel as part of a project for their eighth grade class. It was proposed to be funded in part by a Tony Hawk Foundation grant, a third of the cost from the City of Dassel, and a third of the cost from a community group of skate park supporters.
Since then, Lalone and Wilde have been researching skate parks in Buffalo, Litchfield, Hutchinson and Montrose to see what’s available, and what skateboarders like and dislike.
Wilde added that as long as the skate board equipment isn’t above a certain height, the city won’t need extra insurance.
Lalone said in his report, as Dassel-Cokato Community Education city liaison, that community education officials are enthusiastic about the skate park plan. They suggested starting a program to teach children how to skateboard, and possibly using school buses to transport students to various skate parks in the area.
Scanlon agreed that a skate park will be popular. “Snowboarding is huge,” and that is a winter-version of skateboarding, he added.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• appointed members to the 2009 Red Rooster Committee. They are Amy Wilde, Connie Walters, Chris Hansen, Sharon Asplin, Dale Grochow, Kim Putnam, Mary Neu, Mary Mortenson, Roger Gilmer, Randy Wischmann, Wayne Medcraft, Bill Ward, Paul Holm, Robert Wilde, Kristi Rorah, and Dave Thomas. City liaisons will be Haapala and Warner.
• accepted an ordinance allowing Center Point Energy to have a franchise to construct, operate, repair and maintain a distribution system for the sale of natural gas in the city.
• rejected a bid, 3-2, from Custom Fire Apparatus of Osceola, WI, because of the $491,000 price, and because there was only one bid. According to the city attorney, Kyle Hartnett, this formal rejection allows the city to reuse the specifications for the pumper truck it was considering for future bids. It also allows the city to seek out specific manufacturers, such as those who make stainless steel, bolted constructed trucks, which Dassel firefighters want, and to solicit bids, Scanlon said.
• agreed to meet with Cokato officials about areas of cooperation between the two cities. Wilde volunteered to represent the council in the cooperative group.
• heard a report from Lalone that Cokato Township is considering helping fund Dassel-Cokato Community Education programs.