ROCK SPRINGS — The idea of a new skate park was discussed at the Rock Springs City Council meeting last night. While land was set aside for a new skate park several years ago, the city doesn’t have the funding available to pay for the construction of the park.
During the Council meeting, former Rock Springs resident, Willie Padilla asked the Council if there was a way for the city to construct a new skate park. Padilla said currently he lives on the west coast, but visits Rock Springs during the summers. One thing he’s noticed is the lack of a bowl skate park.
“The one we have is nice. It’s still good. It’s a still skate park with some really fun features. Though the single dimension kind of just leaves ripe skaters at kind of a plateau in a way and it kind of attracts punks to say the least,” Padilla said.
He suggested the city look at a skate park that has a pool, like an empty swimming pool, with transitions and movement for the athletes in Rock Springs.
According to Padilla there are a lot of towns in Wyoming making the move to concrete skate parks including Pinedale, Lander, and Riverton. Pinedale is a smaller skate park, but he said it is really fun to skate on. A skate park doesn’t necessarily have to be big to be fun, he said.
He said a lot of sports require traveling and a lot of money to participate in, but for skateboarding it could only take a couple hundred dollars to purchase the skateboard.
“I do have ideas on what makes a good skate park,” Padilla said. “I would be more than happy to help with the front running of the design and directing which companies to go through.”
Councilor Rob Zotti said he recalled when a group of residents approached the Council for this same thing. He said there was land by the Rock Springs Recreation Center that they thought would be a good place for it. He wanted to know how much space a new skate park would need. Another issue is funding, Zotti said. Not only do they need funding to construct it, but to maintain it when it’s done.
Padilla said if the new skate park is constructed correctly, it should not require much maintenance.
Director of Parks and Recreation Dave Lansang said he believes the Veteran’s Park skate park has been there for around 20 years. He also recalled the group that came forward about a new skate park and thought that took place around 10 years ago. Lansang said at that time the group just asked the city for a piece of land to construct the new skate park on. In response, the City of Rock Springs designated an acre of land near the Recreation Center for the skate park.
The group was going to contact the Tony Hawk Foundation, today known as The Skatepark Project, to try to obtain grant funding to complete the project. Lansang said after they designated that portion of land for the skate park, they never heard back from that group again. However, the land is still designated for the skate park, but it all comes down to funding, Lansang said.
“I do think it’s a low maintenance item once built out,” Lansang added.
As for how much it would cost to construct, Lansang said he doesn’t know how far a couple hundred thousand would go. That’s how much it cost Pinedale roughly 10 years ago to construct their small skate park.
Padilla said the Riverton skate park cost around $300,000 and they collected the money through a grass roots effort and local business sponsors.
Councilor Tim Robinson told Padilla the city is probably in favor of this project, the only problem is the funding. He suggested Padilla start looking funding for the project.
After a quick internet search from Zotti, he thought Rock Springs might qualify for one of The Skatepark Project grants, which range from $10,000 to $300,000.
Padilla said he would start moving forward with trying to come up with funding ideas, possibly approaching local companies for help, or starting a grass roots effort.