Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Designs ready for skate park
Exact location still in limbo

by Lisa Seiser

July 07, 2011

There’s more work to be done, but several city officials and 16 BMXers and skateboarders had their first look at the design and location for the Lake Geneva wheel friendly plaza at Dunn Field next to Eastview Elementary School.

Last Wednesday, Park Board members, city officials, and a number of BMXers and skaters along with Mike McIntyre, a world-renowned skate park designer, gathered at the Riviera for the second time to talk about where to locate a skate facility and what a new skate park could look like.

As McIntyre huddled with the younger people at a table to talk about the details and elements of the skate park, local officials, including Mayor Jim Connors, Public Works Director Dan Winkler and Park Board Chairman Doug Skates, gathered around a screen showing the park location as they discussed the location and its implications. Much of those talks revolved around what the School District officials think of the location, snow removal and avoiding water and sewer lines during and after construction of the park.

McIntyre presented a narrow 220-foot long skate facility that curves around the southeastern portion of the Eastview Elementary School parking lot. The facility will be a flowing continuous plaza made of concrete. It will include a seating area on the north end and landscaping all around. It has concrete bowls, walls, steps, ribs and many other design elements. It won’t be fenced in.

City officials wanted to involve Lake Geneva School District administration in a discussion with McIntyre the next morning to talk about the location and whether it was acceptable. But the designer had an early flight back to California.

Last Thursday, the day after the workshop, Lake Geneva Schools Business Manager Warren Flitcroft, who has been in contact with City Administrator Dennis Jordan regarding the park, but has not attended workshop meetings, said he believes the district and city can work together to determine the best location for the skate facility.

McIntyre said the plaza, if constructed, will be for all levels of skaters and BMXers.

“It is pretty gnarly for the advanced riders,” McIntyre said of the difficulty possibilities. “But, you can just do some great wall rides.”

The plaza style allows for many riders to be in different areas at the same time. It is much different than the current park, which has wooden ramps.

“This is not going to look like anyone else’s park,” McIntyre said.

While the officials left with some remaining questions, BMXer Ryan Harris was pleased with the design of the park.

“I like what he did,” Harris said after the workshop. “This is exactly what should be built. This looks like nothing I have seen anywhere. It is a Lake Geneva park.”

Harris said he wasn’t the only one impressed with the design. The other skaters and BMXers also were pleased, too, he thought.

“When I was 10 years old, I would have looked at this park and would have liked it enough to travel to it,” he said.

But, he said the work isn’t done. During the final 45 minutes of the workshop, the users talked with McIntyre about small adjustments to the park. McIntyre used a red Sharpie to mark up the drawing with the changes.

McIntyre said after the meeting that the more different the site, the more unique and interesting the park becomes.

“This is generated by the site conditions and the community of Lake Geneva,” McIntyre said of the design.

The next step will be to reveal final drawings in about two weeks. McIntyre, who flew in from California for the meeting, said he would like to present the final plans during another meeting, likely to the City Council. He said that would allow him to explain all the aspects of the park and why the site and design was chosen.

Throughout the process, McIntyre has stressed the importance of site, layout and design as ways to prevent problems, such as vandalism and crime occurring at the park.

In late May, 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, led both workshops held. Much of McIntyre’s work has been on public municipal skate parks around the country.