Skatepark gets ramped up

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Last summer, two new features were added to the Howelsen Skate Park. This summer, look for an even higher upgrade with the installation of a mini-ramp designed by Cactus Nemec of Cactofab.

The city of Steamboat Springs poured concrete Thursday, and Jon Casson, coach of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's skateboard program, said Nemec could begin work on the ramp as early as Monday.

The park won't be closed during the renovation.

"It's going to be pretty cool," Casson said about the changes. "We wanted to make something unique to accommodate a wide variety of levels."

The ramp will be 24 feet wide and 5 feet tall and will allow skateboarders to further test their skills. The Howelsen Skate Park is one of the busiest parks in the city, Casson said.

"We wanted to get it to the standard where it's fun, safe and fairly modern," Casson said. "It will be in a lot better shape."

Fund-raising efforts for the park improvements went well, and the Steamboat Skate Park Alliance, the group spearheading efforts to eventually build a concrete facility, was able to raise more money than needed for the current improvements.

However, the long-term goal of building a state-of-the-art concrete facility will necessitate additional fundraising.

"We've got a good start," Casson said. "We are working with the city to figure out a timeline. Then we can apply for grants and kick off our fund-raiser. Concrete skateparks are popping up everywhere and are inexpensive."

Casson estimates the cost of making a concrete skate park at between $300,000 and $500,000, but the maintenance costs will be minimal, and it will free up space at the Howelsen Skate Park, which often is full on summer days.

"Steamboat has always been on the front end of this, so I've met little resistance," Casson said. "It's a matter of when and who is going to pay for it."

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