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Three sites remain for potential skate park home

DICKINSON - The search for a new home for Dickinson's skate park continues. This ongoing process was addressed during the regular Dickinson Park Board roundtable meeting on Friday morning.

Dickinson Parks and Recreation District Director James Kramer said out of numerous possible locations, the board has narrowed the options down to three potential sites.

"We basically went back to square one and started looking at all the sites that have really ever been discussed," Kramer said.

Commissioners based the elimination on proximity to residences, easy access for users, visibility and the amount of traffic passing by the location.

"One of the issues with where we had it was that it wasn't on a very well traveled road, Kramer said.

After eliminating sites that would not be feasible, three sites remained and are still being reviewed.

The three sites are Leisure Park, which consists of the 48 acres surrounding the West River Community Center, an undeveloped piece of property on Tenth Avenue East and the All-Seasons Park, which is on the north side of Dickinson.

"Those three give us a lot of different options so I think there's a potential in those," Kramer said.

Another option the park board is considering is using public school property.

"We've had discussions with the school district and I want to send them a formal letter just asking them to review their school property and playgrounds," Kramer said.

Although the park board had considered moving the equipment from the current skate park to a new facility, commissioners are now reconsidering that idea.

"As we started looking at it, at how we have to kind of cut this thing up and get it out of there, we started talking about the pros and cons of a new facility and the value of all this metal that's sitting down there," Kramer said. "We put together some estimates on what it would cost to basically scrap the existing facility and build brand new."

The type of facility the board is now considering is a concrete bowl structure.

"The advantage of going to this type of concrete bowl system is they're much more appealing to the eye...and this eliminates the sound concerns and from the kid's standpoint this eliminates how hot that metal gets," Kramer said.

Commissioner Carol Herauf agrees a concrete structure would be more attractive than the current, metal equipment.

"I'm sure you guys have seen the ones around the state and...they are very nice," Herauf said.

Kramer estimated the costs of relocating the old equipment at about $50,000. Rebuilding using the concrete structure will cost about $180,000.

"Depending on where it goes, there may be some additional costs," Kramer said. "Doing something like this may mean that it prolongs this process and we may have to budget...and find some additional funds."

Although it will take a substantially larger amount of money to rebuild, grant money may be available.

"If we rebuild and not relocate, we would be eligible for some grant programs," Kramer said.

He is most interested in the Tony Hawk Grant foundation, but funds from this organization are available if they simply relocate old equipment.

"I think it's really important that we go through with this because I think it affects a lot of people," board President Mike Lefor said.

Kramer added it is important to be sure the board picks "the right site" and uses "the right material," which appears to be concrete. He believes the right combination of those elements will improve the facility.

"This might be a great opportunity to correct some things and maybe change the public's perception of this facility," Kramer said.

Commissioner Scott Kovash also thinks a concrete structure would be better than moving the current equipment.

"I think this is the only way to go," Kovash said. "The way it sounds, relocating that other (equipment), it's just not even feasible."

As commissioners continue weighing their options for a new skate park location, the current location remains open until Dickinson's park district disassembles it.

"We're probably within two weeks of having a plan to get it out," Kramer said.

Meanwhile, the board also is in the process of finalizing the sale of the Heart River Golf Course Pro Shop inventory.

The inventory belonged to former golf pro Kevin Bergman who recently died unexpectedly. The park district is working on buying the inventory.

"Everything seems to be kind of falling into place and I think we're very, very close," Kramer said. "Basically now we just need to get it down on paper and have everybody sign it."

He's hoping to close the sale by Wednesday, April 30. Kramer said if costs are totaled by Monday, a special park board meeting will be called Tuesday morning for the closing of the sale.