A place to skate

Group will be formed to look at park plans

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Efforts to build a concrete skatepark continue in Steamboat Springs.

Improvements have been made to the Howelsen Skate Park in the form of better ramps and new toys, but focus has shifted to finding a site and finalizing plans for a 20,000-square-foot facility.

The new ramps set up at the Howelsen Skate Park have been vandalized, prompting reaction from those who use them and those who helped raise the money to build them.

"It makes it look trashy," said Jon Casson, president of the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance. "Skaters need to have a certain amount of respect for what they've got."

Graffiti and skateparks often go hand in hand, Casson admitted, but most skateparks hire professionals or allow users to be artistic with supervision. The skatepark was closed Thursday afternoon for cleaning. When paint is sprayed on the skatelite material, it makes it slicker and harder to ride on. Casson said most people who use the skatepark were upset with the vandals, particularly because the SSpA is spearheading efforts to get a new concrete facility built.

"It's dumb graffiti," he said.

"I haven't met a single city official opposed to a concrete skatepark," said Jon Casson, president of the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance. "It's just how and when."

Soon, Casson plans to form a skatepark-design committee that will include a cross-section of community members and users. He wants adults, teens and children involved in creating the official design.

"I really would like to make Steamboat Springs the best skatepark in Colorado," he said.

Casson has formed summer clubs to allow youths to skateboard with adult supervision. Those clubs have traveled throughout the state visiting other concrete parks.

"I definitely want it built within the next two years," he said.

After the plans are complete, a final cost will be tabulated. After the cost is finalized, fundraising efforts will begin, but Casson is hopeful grant money will be available to help build an attractive facility available for those of all ages, particularly youths who complain about having nothing to do in Steamboat.

"(Steamboat Springs Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces) has approved for us to go forward, and we are going to update the City Council on our progress," Casson said.

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