Jon Casson: Skatepark needed


— There is a lot of discussion in our community about the proposed recreation center, its location, necessity and cost. As part of the rec center's proposed plans, there is a portion of land allocated toward a new skateboard park. I'd like to elaborate on the skatepark portion of the rec center.

The current skatepark at Howelsen was built around 1995 and measures approximately 6,000 square feet. Up until 2003, very little was done to renovate or repair the original ramps. As a result of age and weather, there were ramps with screws sticking out, rotting wood frames and sharp metal edges. In fact, the old halfpipe was removed after it failed a safety inspection by the city's insurance advisers. In 2003, we formed the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance to raise money to repair the existing park and start working toward a concrete skatepark.

In the course of about three months, the Steamboat Skatepark Alliance raised close to $100,000 from private donors. About $45,000 was spent to build the new ramps that are in there today. The remaining money is sitting with the Yampa Valley Community Foundation waiting for the opportunity to design and build a concrete skatepark.

Concrete parks are really the ultimate goal of any skateboard community. They are durable, inexpensive and last for years with very little maintenance. They are very versatile and allow for more variations on the complex tricks skaters are currently performing. Many communities throughout the country have invested in this type of skatepark. Locally, Winter Park just completed an 8,000-square-foot concrete park at a cost of about $250,000. Winter Park has about 500 full-time residents. Kremmling just completed a 10,000-square-foot park in their town of just under 1,000 residents for a cost of just less than $270,000.

Skateboarding is one of the fastest growing sports among youths and teens, with more participation than most "traditional" sports. Our current park, while adequate, is certainly not state of the art or up to the general standards of modern skateparks. In the past several community surveys, teen or youth activities and programs are consistently some of the highest priorities. Steamboat is a town that prides itself on its family environment and kid-friendly activities. It only seems logical and appropriate to provide this portion of our youth and teen population a facility that equals in quality all the other amenities Steamboat offers.

The plan for the rec center at Ski Town Fields includes a section set aside for development of a 20,000-square-foot concrete skatepark. While a new skatepark is part of the overall plan for the rec center, it's not part of the $34 million price tag. Ads and letters about the rec center, both pro and con, have been slightly incorrect about funding for the skatepark. Funding will be separate, not private. The skatepark will be financed through a mix of private donations, local labor and materials, state grants such as GoCo and money from the city's Capital Improvement Budget.

I personally feel that a rec center would be a great amenity for our community, and a skatepark will only compliment the whole facility. I hope Steamboat voters will approve Referendums 2B and 2C. However, I understand that every voter has to make a choice for themselves. Regardless of the outcome of this important vote, I hope that the citizens of Steamboat will support our efforts toward a new skatepark. Please feel free to e-mail me at so I can answer any questions or if you'd like to help with the skatepark project in any way.

Jon Casson

Steamboat Skatepark Alliance


another_local 9 years, 4 months ago

I support the efforts of the skate park group and applaud the fund raising they have done. I hope they succeed in building a skatepark. This amenity will not add the kind of financial burden to the local families that the rec center will.

NO on the rec center, but willing to support the skate park effort.


nxoby36 9 years, 4 months ago

"another_local" I agree with you that we need a good " Skate Park " and to vote NO 2B & 2C . That Boondoggle is poorly thought out . But I am wondering why the skate park group is insisting upon an out door facility ? Wouldn't it be better to build in-door facility here being we only have a short season that the concrete one could be used .


Jon_Casson 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for the support and the good words. Hopefully, the concrete skatepark will be a reality sooner than later.

Nxoby36- the answer to your question is simply a matter of finances. Roofing or putting a park indoors is exceedingly expensive- would almost double our costs to do it right. We'd love to have a year-round skatepark at some point in the future. Our first priority, however, is to get the new park built. After that, then we can raise more funds to either cover a portion of the new park or some sort of temporary structure over the Howelsen park. Thanks for the question!


ColoradoNative 9 years, 4 months ago

Ask Jim Cook to wave the wand. He could easily incorporate that in with some new plans for the area.


twostroketerror 9 years, 4 months ago

Check out T-rides' new park. 1/2 covered, all concrete, truly a thing of beauty. Huge kudos to the Stmbt sk8ers for getting this together. Will the Park still happen if the rec center fails? Now if only the rec center folks could be self funding...


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