Skateboarder wants Glenwood on board
GLENWOOD SPRINGS A Glenwood Springs skateboarder is working on a new trick: building a better place to board in town.Yampah Mountain High School sophomore Jono Moreau is leading a push for a new skateboard park, and getting a lesson in civics in the process.Moreau, 16, is working with other skateboarders to take advantage of growing political momentum behind the idea of replacing the existing facility at Two Rivers Park.The City Council last year approved a parks and recreation master plan that calls for a new half-million-dollar skateboard park. But it’s only a plan at this point, without a dime of funding yet committed to it, and there’s little indication that the city plans to invest in a new park anytime soon.Moreau is making it his mission to start pursuing funding sources and solidifying a plan for a facility, or perhaps several smaller ones.
His campaign is still in its early stages, but he already has learned a lot through his efforts, for which he is earning civics class credit. One lesson has been patience.”I know that this is going to be a really long process. I’ve heard from a couple of sources that it’s a really big hill to climb,” he said.City Council member Joe O’Donnell, one of those whom Moreau and other skateboarders have contacted for advice, is impressed by their efforts.”It’s really fun to see these kids, they’re really interested in doing this, and I think a skateboard park would be a great addition to our community,” O’Donnell said.At O’Donnell’s recommendation, Moreau spoke to a representative from the group trying to bring a whitewater park to Glenwood. That effort also is requiring considerable fundraising. O’Donnell said the city already has a lot of demands on its budget, so fundraising will be important for the skateboard park. But he thinks the park’s backers have a chance of succeeding.”If they made up their minds they’re going to do it, they may just pull it off,” he said.
Moreau also has met with the Glenwood-based 2 Rivers Foundation to learn the role that organization can play in holding funds the group raises. He and other park backers are scheduled to make a presentation to council Thursday. He’s preparing a PowerPoint presentation that will feature his photos showing far more developed skateboard parks in nearby communities such as Carbondale and Rifle.By comparison, Glenwood’s current park offers few elements for riders to test their skills on, and some are in deteriorating condition. The city has budgeted to replace a worn-out halfpipe this year.Moreau has lived in Glenwood for 11 years and been skateboarding for four. He said Garfield County’s biggest city, the county seat and a tourism destination, should have a far better skateboard park. While many parks emphasize “vertical” elements such as halfpipes, he’d like to see Glenwood’s include a lot of “street” elements such as rails and ledges, he said. He said a lot of local skateboarders seek out steps and other such elements around town.That can pose a problem. Glenwood Police Chief Terry Wilson said skateboarders riding in nondesignated places tear paint off rails, leave skid marks and tear chunks out of fixtures.Moreau said building a few smaller skateboard parks rather than one big one might give kids more legitimate places to ride. Wilson isn’t optimistic that building a bigger or more skateboard parks will reduce damage elsewhere. He said the existing park failed to help in that regard, and has created its own problems in terms of vandalism, drug abuse and other crimes committed at the park by its users.
“There are a number of issues that have arisen at that location over several years that I don’t know that this is a solution to, per se,” he said.Moreau is likely to face other skeptics along the way, not to mention a financial challenge that will be fully known only after a final design for a park or parks is determined. But with the aid of Yampah staff member Mike Podmore, he’s pressing on, learning of funding sources such as Great Outdoors Colorado that might be of assistance. He’s hoping that if he can obtain enough money, the city can make up the difference, something O’Donnell said might be possible.Moreau would like to see his project reach fruition before he graduates.”If not, I’m just going to have to pass it down to students below me in different grades,” he said.He acknowledges his efforts have been trying on occasion. For him, catching frontside air off a halfpipe is easy by comparison.”At times I was sitting at my computer pulling out my hair, trying to figure out what I would have to do,” he said. “Then again, I also see a vision of a really nice park in town. A lot of people are really willing to help out with this. I know a lot of skaters are really willing to help out too.”