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Location still undecided for skate park

IF YOU GO - What: Skate Park workshop No. 2 Why: To see and comment on designs and plans for a new Lake Geneva skate park When: Wednesday, June 29, at 6 p.m. Where: The Riviera
June 22, 2011 | 08:43 AM
An exact location for a new 10,000-square-foot concrete BMX/skate park hasn't officially been decided, but that didn't stop park designer Mike McIntyre, or 10 users of the city's current skate park, from talking about the elements they would like to see incorporated in a new facility.

Last Wednesday, Park Board members, city officials, a table full of BMXers and skaters along with McIntyre, a world-renowned skate park designer, gathered at the Riviera to talk about where to locate a skate facility and what a new wheel-friendly Lake Geneva plaza could look like.

Late last month, members of the City Council voted 5-3 to spend $30,000 for design and engineering services for a new skate park that is estimated to cost between $250,000 and $350,000. Tax Incremental Financing District money will be used to fund the park, if it is approved by the City Council.

McIntyre, who is the president of Action Sport Design, called last Wednesday's meeting a workshop.

"This is about consensus-building," he said. "Do we have the right location now? What would you like to see there? What can we formulate in this park?"

McIntyre spent about 45 minutes talking with the users about bowls, urban designs, plazas and transitions including more specific design features.

"I got a lot of really good feedback," McIntyre said after the meeting.

He told those in attendance that he would draw up several designs, and those will be posted on the ASD website starting June 23 and will be presented at the second workshop, June 29, 6 p.m., at the Riviera. After receiving feedback on the drawings, McIntyre said the concept design and 3-D modeling will be put together. After that, the cost and ensuring the design fits within the budget will be the next steps.

Location in limbo

The discussion about the features and design followed a lengthy talk about the location of the new park. McIntyre suggested two locations at Dunn Field, behind Eastview Elementary School, off Sage Street.

One location was slightly south of the current park, but closer to the school parking lot. The other was further south, near the parking lot, next to the bathrooms and tennis courts in that area.

McIntyre said sight lines are important along with not being in an isolated location like the park is now. But, he likes the Dunn Field location for the park. He also said the locations were chosen to avoid disrupting and having to deal with the utilities as much as possible.

"I think it is a really beautiful site," he said of Dunn Field. "Right now it is pretty far from the main drive and orientation of the ramps is very isolated. I think it needs to look at some other points of connection, like how do you get to the park and the sight lines."

He showed a number of other parks, some in areas like Dunn Field, others were urban plazas set in big cities and some were destination resorts and backyard parks.

"Where the park ends up will make a difference on what is in it," McIntyre said.

He said he liked the location on the southern end.

But, Alderman Tom Hartz said he wasn't sure about either. He suggested using the tennis court location or moving the park close to Sage Street. However, others in attendance also liked the southern end location, next to the parking lot and bathrooms.

Hartz said his suggested locations would reduce management problems at the park.

McIntyre said creating a "really hip" and "successful" park will eliminate some of the problems.

"What makes it successful and Lake Geneva is what we want," McIntyre said. "Make it very inviting for the community and that's when you eliminate the hoodlums and the drugs."

McIntyre agreed to create a design for the third area that is somewhat between the two areas he chose. He was adamant that a location south and west of the current park is the best location for the community.

"There has to be 100 percent justification where the park is located," McIntyre said. "I feel really good about the southern location. I think we have a good one there."

ASD was chosen as the design firm out of a total of four of the top skate park designers in the world. ASD, located in Carlsbad, Calif., has designed and built with Who Skates parks all over the country, including St. Cloud, Minn., and Denver.

The city's Park Board has been discussing building a new skate park for a couple of years. There is $550,000 in the city's Tax Incremental Financing District project fund for a new facility. The tax money is already collected to the tune of more than $6 million right now.

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