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Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Celina skateboard park cost may jump to $250,000

By William Kincaid
A plan to build a $50,000 skateboard park in Celina may be upgraded to a $250,000 concrete park along Lake Shore Drive.
Celina City Council's park and recreation committee met on Tuesday night to offer their support for creating a park and to discuss possible long-term plans.
A group of local skaters, supervised by Celina middle school teacher Keith Gudorf, have raised around $20,000 the last few years through skating events and fundraisers. Their plan is to build a $50,000 park with premanufactured skating fixtures.
After holding meetings with Gudorf and the teens, Celina Planning and Community Development Director Kent Bryan learned the kids are worried about the quality of the premanufactured fixtures. So, he had the city's engineering department create a drawing of a concrete park at an estimated cost of $250,000.
But this grand vision is not possible without a significant grant or the contributions of a benefactor, Bryan noted.
He added the kids want what Kettering has - a 40,000-square-foot concrete, street-skating plaza with urban terrain elements such as benches, rails and ledges.
"It's gorgeous," Bryan said about the Kettering park. "I would be very proud to put that in Lake Shore Drive."
The Kettering park cost between $600,000 to $1.2 million, according to Bryan.
"It has a park atmosphere - it is geared toward skating but is multi-functional," city Engineer Jeremy Hinton said about Kettering's park.
City engineers used the Kettering park as a model to create the proposed Celina park, which is a quarter of the size of the Kettering site.
Like Kettering's park, the city's preliminary drawing includes an outer perimeter walk area for families to congregate, have picnics and enjoy the atmosphere. Some committee members said the park could be a fountain square area for lake viewing and entertainment, even if the sport were to die out.
"If we're going to do this, let's do it right," Councilwoman Angie King said.
The other councilors at the meeting, Bill Sell, June Scott, Ed Jeffries and Myron Buxton, also were supportive of the idea and discussed possible locations. The park could be built in Lake Shore Park, north of the hot water hole, some said.
But the construction of the proposed 166-by-120-foot park all depends on collecting the necessary revenue.
"This is probably something that doesn't get built in one shot," Bryan said, suggesting it be built in five $50,000 phases.
King said she would like to see it built in one phase with the assistance of a state grant.
Councilman Sell asked about city liability.
"What happens if a kid breaks an arm going down a ramp?" he asked.
Bones are broken at the Kettering park, Bryan replied.
No one at the meeting knew if the city could be protected from possible lawsuits.
Many at the meeting stated support and excitement of a Celina skateboard park, adding that it could enhance the city's tourism.
According to Hinton and Bryan, most of the people they talked to at Kettering's park during a recent visit were from out of town or out of state, having driven there exclusively for the park. One family was even taking their annual vacation at Kettering for the park.
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