Come together and move forward |

Come together and move forward

In regards to Jamie Close’s death and the closing of the El Jebel skatepark, let us honor the grieving of family, friends and our community – a community that will miss a boy playing, a community that is missing a place for kids to play.

The Mt. Sopris Skate Park was the only free, indoor, community-run skatepark in the state. It was created five years ago by locals like Jamie who needed an outlet for athletic expression.

Hundreds of children, teens, parents, businesses and government employees contributed. People like Royal and Herb, who don’t even skate, put their heart and soul into that place.

Midvalley residents became empowered while learning of activism, citizenship and government. The county and community agreed to allow for this much-needed and much-used facility to exist.

The Mt. Sopris Skateboard Organization was you and me. It was posted at the entrance, that the park was self-policed. Everyone who enjoyed time there was responsible for “our” park.

The magic of the place was just that: It was a place where a grandfather/grandson team could build and donate a jump ramp, where local construction workers would stop after work and upgrade the mini-ramp, where skaters from all over would visit and enjoy the ever-changing street course. Some of the features were mobile to allow for creativity and challenge – what skating is all about.

Now there seems to be reparations with the Closes and the county. We should repair and rebuild emotionally and physically. Let us honor all those who put their time and money, heart and soul into the creation of a positive youth and community program.

It is time to come together and create another El Jebel Skateboard Park. Those warehouse buildings are sitting unused, yet are in fine shape. Let us revitalize them now.

An indoor park would be a year-round amenity. With the new Eagle County building and new gate-able entrance road, the place can be better monitored and recognized. How about a grand re-opening and re-naming?

A recreation board has been created and has finances for just such a thing. The Mt. Sopris Tree Farm is now The Crown Mountain Park. We do not have to go around scrounging for activism and funds. It is here, now. Other valley towns have their skateparks; El Jebel’s kids should be denied no longer.

While recognizing past successes and tragedies, it is now time to move forward. I urge all to attend the Crown Mountain Parks and Recreation meeting on Tuesday, June 17, at 6 p.m., to make the El Jebel Skatepark a reality.

Petar Kovacic

El Jebel