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Aspen wants ideas on skatepark expansion

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times

The city of Aspen is seeking input from not only skateboarders but users of Rio Grande Park and the community at large about a proposed expansion of the skatepark off Rio Grande Place.

Steve Cronin, a landscape designer with the Parks Department, will be at the park from 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday to solicit ideas and comments.

The current skatepark, built 13 years ago, has standard bowl features. Users have said they would prefer for the expansion, or Phase II, to have more “street skate” features: primarily flat, concrete spaces with obstacles such as stairs, handrails, planter boxes and concrete ledges that allow riders to perform a wider range of tricks.

One idea, Cronin said Monday, is to extend the park into the basketball-court area just north of the skatepark. He recently set up a wildlife camera to gauge how much use the court receives. He also would like for any round-ballers who regularly use the court to provide their suggestions during the two open-house periods.

If the park does take up some court space, “We were thinking we might be able to incorporate some sort of basketball feature there, maybe a half-court, so that it doesn’t completely eliminate that feature from Rio Grande Park,” Cronin said. “We’re trying not to step on everyone’s toes.”

Years ago, a proposed skatepark expansion extended to the east, into the footprint of the Rio Grande Recycle Center.

“Now that the recycle center has been built, we don’t want to redo any part of the center at the moment,” Cronin said. “In my eyes, the expansion is moving more toward the basketball-court area. We’ll have to see what kind of reaction we get to that idea.”

Late last year, the City Council allotted $25,000 in the 2013 budget for public-outreach and planning efforts associated with a future skatepark expansion. Cronin said he doesn’t have any idea how much the expansion itself would cost. Following the outreach, the city might seek bids from a private planner to assist the effort.

At 13,000 square feet of skating terrain, the current park consists of three bowls of varying depths to accommodate different skill levels. Completed in 2000, it was the first modern skatepark in the Roaring Fork Valley. Since then, other concrete skateparks have sprung up in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs and Snowmass Village.

For more information, call Cronin at 970-429-2896.


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