Skateboard park skipped for funds

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— Skateboard park users will have to practice on "dilapidated" ramps this summer because the Steamboat Springs Ski and Resort Corp. Contribution Committee and City Council decided not to allocate funds for improvements on the park unless another project receiving funds falls through.

The committee said the proposal given didn't meet the criteria for grant money.

Some of the organizations that did receive community funding from the Steamboat Springs Ski and Resort Corp. Contribution Committee and City Council include:

Steamboat Springs Arts Council, $10,000, for purchase and installation of public art.

Steamboat Springs Nordic Council, $6,000, for expansion of winter and summer use trails on Howelsen Hill.

Tread of Pioneers Museum, $5,400, for development of a history of skiing exhibit.

Steamboat Springs Rivers and Trails Committee, $10,000, for Yampa River trail improvements.

Tracy DelliQuadri, $10,000, for development of a toddler playground at Stockbridge Park.

Historic Routt County, $1,500, for purchase and installation of historic plaques.

Strings in the Mountains, $2,148, for improvements to the sound system.

"It is really a disappointment. I was optimistic about the presentation we made," skateboarder Mike Andrews said.

Andrews and Cassandra Krause asked the contribution committee for $10,000 for skateboard park improvements and $10,000 for BMX track improvements in early November.

The committee recommends funding for local projects from money donated by Ski Corp.

There was nearly $80,000 this year to give away. Eleven out of 13 proposals presented to the contribution committee received some funding, including the BMX track receiving almost the full $10,000.

The Steamboat Springs City Council accepted the recommendations Nov. 14.

"The committee strongly felt a good, high-quality skateboard park would be an asset to the community. However, it did not feel that the project proposed was something that met the standards set by the other proposed projects," Steamboat Springs grants analyst Winnie DelliQuadri said.

She helped facilitate and organize the proposals for the seven-person committee. The members recommended projects on how well those projects fit a set criteria for the money. For full funding, the project has to have a parks and recreation or cultural interest and add something new in the community or improves an existing facility. The money is not for solving deferred maintenance problems, DelliQuadri said.

DelliQuadri said the skate park proposal "did not clearly make the distinction" between differed maintenance and upgrades to improve the facility.

But since the committee saw the need for an improved park, it chose to give any unused funds and returned funds to the skate park.

That has been up to $4,000 in the past.

"That's pretty cool, I guess," Andrews said. "At least we're at the bottom of the list."

For more than two years, Andrews has raised funds privately to fix the metal and wood ramps at the park. He joined Josh Kaufman in this effort, an owner of The Click skateboard and snowboard shop, who has been doing the same thing for more than three years.

Both have gone to the Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the park, to ask for some financial help in their effort. They received a few thousand dollars to fix some of the structures this summer, but Andrews said it isn't nearly enough to bring the park up to the quality that is wanted.

The metal surfaces of the ramps and obstacles are peeling away from their wooden frames.

Andrews calls the ramps dilapidated. Krause calls them dangerous.

Krause, whose husband and sons skateboard, said upgrades to the park would be a positive move for a group of athletes that are often stereotyped as being "bad."

Skateboarders, bikers and in-line skaters all use the ramps.

However, because of the condition of the park, most adults who are into those sports stay away, leaving it unsupervised and mostly used by children, Krause said.

But the users of the skateboard park have some obstacles in front of them.

Unlike the BMX track, there is not a national affiliation to support skateboarding.

In Krause's presentation to the committee for the dirt track, she explained how the grant money would be used to get the track certified by the National Bike League.

Then a series of races could be held in Steamboat so local riders could race and receive a national ranking.

To reach Doug Crowl call 871-4206

or e-mail dcrowl@amigo.net

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