Park Board narrows skate park locations; wants it north of WRCC

DICKINSON - Dickinson's Park District is moving forward with plans to build a new skate park in Dickinson. At yesterday's regular monthly Park Board roundtable meeting, Dickinson Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer said the skate park comm...

DICKINSON - Dickinson's Park District is moving forward with plans to build a new skate park in Dickinson.

At yesterday's regular monthly Park Board roundtable meeting, Dickinson Parks and Recreation Director James Kramer said the skate park committee decided on a location for a new skate park.

"We feel the best site for this facility is Leisure Park," Kramer said.

This park is the area surrounding the West River Community Center (WRCC).

The skate park committee, which has been seeking a location for a new skate park, consists of Kramer, Commissioner Scott Kovash, Dickinson Police Department's Lt. Rick Shirey, and Dickinson's Dawn Radspinner and Ken Kubischta.


Although the location of a new skate park is not set in stone, it is the park board's intention to continue the planning process using Leisure Park as the location.

"The area we're looking at is the north side of the building (WRCC), between the soccer fields and the tennis addition," Kramer said. "If we're going to try to send a message to the community that this is a new image for the skate park...what better place to be than right up here?"

The skate park committee also decided on the type of structure they thought would work best for a new skate park.

"The committee would like to see the facility updated to a concrete structure," Kramer said. "Obviously that is going to cost some addition money, but we feel that both aesthetically and use-wise...that is just the right direction to go."

He estimated the cost to be anywhere from $150,000 to $200,000 for the size of structure that the committee has in mind.

"We're looking at 9-10,000 square feet, potentially with the ability to grow," Kramer said.

He added that the former skate park, which was closed and torn down two weeks ago, covered an area of about 9,000 square feet.

Park Board president Mike Lefor said he agreed with upgrading a skate facility from a metal structure to a concrete structure.


He asked Kramer if the committee had discussed lighting issues for the location.

"The lighting, we felt, was not an essential," Kramer said. "I think if we follow the dusk until dawn time, just like we do with all our other parks, I think some of the policing will take care of itself."

Another issue discussed during the meeting was options available for a piece of undeveloped park district land located on the northeast corner of Dickinson.

Dickinson's Dave Kitzen is interested in purchasing park district property located south of Fisher Park. Kramer said Kitzan wants to put a road through the property to further develop the area.

The park district's attorney, Mary Nordsven, came up with two approaches she felt would be the best solution to the situation.

One option is to do a land swap. With this approach, the park district and Kitzan simply trade property.

"I think we have the authority to do a land swap if, in fact, what you're swapping for has a market value that is equal to what you have or greater," Nordsven said.

She said that swapping, as well as selling the property, may cause problems for property owners in the surrounding area. Individuals may have purchased property in the area with the understanding that they would be next to park district property.


"I think in order to make sure there's not a problem down the road...we'd have to go to them personally and secure a waiver," Nordsven said.

Another approach that Nordsven recommended was to do an easement, which would allow the park board to keep the land and let Kitzan build a road on it.

"Probably what we could do is to have some public hearings," Lefor said.

Nordsven and the park board plan to continue researching the issue to come up with the best solution.

"We're just making sure we're doing our homework and doing the right thing," Kramer said after the meeting.

During the meeting, the board discussed issues the park district is experiencing with lifeguards.

"We are by far in the biggest life guard crunch we've ever had," Kramer said.

He added they currently do have just enough lifeguards to cover both North Pool and WRCC's indoor pool.

Recreation and facilities manager Kevin Klipfel said the park district also has been slowly losing their most experienced life guards.

"We struggle to keep them," Klipfel said.

Kramer said that due to lifeguard hiring and training as well as some repairs to Dickinson's North Pool, the opening of the North Pool will be delayed for a week. Instead of opening on June 2, the park district will now open the pool on June 9.

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