Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Build It and They Will Come Orange Park Council Approves Skate Park

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Build It and They Will Come Orange Park Council Approves Skate Park

Article excerpt

ORANGE PARK -- You see them on sidewalks, zipping along neighborhood streets, and sometimes scooting through shopping center, church and school parking lots.

Just about any large patch of asphalt or concrete, no matter how potentially dangerous, can become a playground for skateboard enthusiasts.

But the Orange Park Town Council approved a plan Tuesday night to provide skateboarders a safe alternative to the streets and parking lots.

Council members voted 4-1 to build a $122,000 skateboard park on Fromhart Street, just north of Gano Avenue across the street from the Orange Park Athletic Association sports fields.

One of the leading proponents of the project, Mayor Phyllis Renninger, said numerous children ride skateboards all over town in places that put them at potential risk of being run over or struck by motor vehicles.

"If we don't do something to protect them we'll be doing a great disservice . . ." Renninger said.

She said she had visited Kona Skateboard Park and spoken with park managers there to pick up ideas that can be applied to management practices at the Orange Park facility.

"Kona is 25 years old and has already paved the way," Renninger said. "All we've got to do is copy all their rules. They're very strict."

A contract was awarded to the lowest of three bidders, The Laney Co. of Jacksonville, to build the facility, which will feature a concrete skating surface 100 feet wide by 140 feet long, a parking lot and a security fence around the 2-acre parcel.

But the $122,000 price tag was a bit too steep for Councilman Garry McIntyre, who cast the only vote against the park.

"I didn't anticipate such a large expenditure," McIntyre said. "Are we in a big hurry to do this?"

The project has been in the planning stages for more than a year, and Town Manager John Bowles said the county will reimburse the town about half the total cost. …

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