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Dickinson Park Board closes city's skate park

The Dickinson Park District closed down the city's skate park yesterday to begin removing the equipment. Dickinson Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer gave the report on the facility at Dickinson Park Board's regular meeting on Monday.

The Dickinson Park District closed down the city's skate park yesterday to begin removing the equipment. Dickinson Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer gave the report on the facility at Dickinson Park Board's regular meeting on Monday.

"We started today in dismantling the equipment," Kramer said. "It's actually going along a little better than what we had thought."

He expects all of the equipment to be hauled out by the end of the week.

"We hope to have it completely dismantled by Wednesday and if we need a crane, we have a crane lined up for Thursday to haul it out," Kramer said. "If we're able to do it ourselves, which, we're finding out might be possible, we'll kind of just take it out as we're able to."

The present skate park will not be reopened due to ongoing problems the park district experienced with the facility. However, there will be a new skate park erected as soon as the park district has all of their plans in order.

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"I think we have all the information in place...ultimately we'll have to decide financially how we can make this work," Kramer said.

The park district must still decide on the location of a new skate park.

During April's regular Park Board roundtable meeting, Kramer said the park district had narrowed the possibilities down to three possible sites - Leisure Park, which is the 48 acres surrounding the West River Community Center, All Season's Park, which is on the north side of Dickinson, and an undeveloped piece of property on Tenth Avenue East.

The Park Board Commissioners also are considering different options for the type of structure to be used for the new skate park. They are currently looking into a concrete bowl structure.

"We will continue to research and move forward on the new skate park both in location and in construction," Kramer said.

Once all of the metal equipment is removed from the former skate park, Kramer said the plan is to make the area into a basketball court.

"We'll turn it back into exactly the way it was prior to the skate park," Kramer said. "A lot of this we won't know until we get the equipment off and see the condition of the concrete."

He added the facility is to be repaved, along with the tennis court that is located in the same area.

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"With the lights being down there it was one of the more popular basketball spots...we hope that that will continue again," Kramer said.

Meanwhile, representatives from Dickinson's Oreo's Animal Rescue (OAR) came to the meeting to propose the park district help their organization create a dog park in Dickinson.

The commissioners made a unanimous decision to continue working with OAR and to support their idea.

OAR is a nonprofit organization that cares for abandoned pets in need of medical attention.

Tara Couch, president of OAR, discussed the organization's idea with the park board. She said a dog park would have a positive impact on dog owners, their dogs, and the Dickinson community as a whole.

"We also feel it would add some structure for dog owners in the community because in order to utilize the park, you have to have had licensing and follow rules and it would teach responsible dog ownership in our community," Couch said.

She is looking at All Season's Park in north Dickinson as a potential location of the park, which is about 4.55 acres.

She listed some of the supplies that would be needed for the facility, including areas for large and small dogs, walking paths, benches, a water source, waste bags and disposals, trash receptacles and park maintenance.

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"Our future vision for an ultimate park would be to include restrooms, agility course, pond, a picnic area and update the children's play area," Couch said.

She said the most important element the facility would need is fencing. She said a 6-foot, chain-link fence would be ideal.

She said OAR would be able to contribute to the project in many ways.

"Oreo's would like to provide design based on industry and peer group research and we have looked designs, what works best, and researched that," Couch said.

Kramer asked Couch if OAR had come up with any cost estimates. Couch said they had not looked into prices, but wanted to do so with the park district in the future.

"Fencing, I think, is going to be our primary cost," Couch said.

Mike Lefor, park board president, said he is supportive of the idea.

"It sounds like a real good, and well- thought out plan," Lefor said. "I like the idea of making one of our areas more useful than it is."

He asked Couch how often these types of establishments get used.

"The areas that I've been in on vacation...they're a central location for dog lovers and animal people in the community," Couch said.

Lefor asked what exactly the organization wanted from the park district.

"What we're looking for is the use of the property and anything that parks and rec can contribute as far as the fencing and the grounds," Couch said. "The next area is to work out the details."

The commissioners agreed to continue working with the organization to try to come up with a plan for a dog park.

"The next step is to put together...a financial plan, which would then identify what they can do and what we can do," Kramer said.

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