Timeline for Aspen skate-park expansion pushed back
The Aspen Times
Another open meeting on the proposed expansion of the Rio Grande skate park is set for Tuesday as the city tries to gauge public interest in the estimated $300,000 project.
According to a city memorandum, the skate park is the most widely used single-park feature in the Aspen park system. Built in 2000, the park stays busy throughout the spring, summer and fall. The city has been working on conceptual designs of the 10,000-square-foot expansion with Florida-based Team Pain Enterprises — a company that has constructed more than 50 parks throughout the country, including the original work at Rio Grande and locations in Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Colorado Springs, Arvada and Broomfield.
Steve Cronin, landscape designer for the Parks Department, said he will be looking for public support at Tuesday’s meeting so that he can return to the Aspen City Council and show that there is interest in the expansion. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. in the Rio Grande Meeting Room.
“There is potential for City Council to shut it down, which we’re hoping isn’t the case,” he said. “So far they’ve been on board, and they’ve expressed interest in the past. And they know it’s a community amenity that is needed. I don’t foresee it getting terminated right now.”
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In December, the council approved a $25,000 study on the expansion. Organizers originally planned to break ground in August and finish construction in the fall, but Cronin said his department is now looking at a spring 2015 date because of current workload and financial reasons. He said the delay was a surprise to Team Pain, but the company is still 100 percent on-board.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Team Pain representatives will share conceptual drawings with the public and gather input on plans that include a street-skate section with stair sets, rails, ramps and boxes.
During a January open house, about 10 people — estimated to be between ages 18 to 40 — offered input. Visitors included skateboard instructors and Radio Boardshop employees as well as representatives from Theatre Aspen, which is adjacent to the nearby John Denver Sanctuary. Cronin said Theatre Aspen had concerns about noise, but it was not against the project.
The $300,000 price tag correlates with the estimated 10,000-square-foot expansion, but Cronin said it may end up being close to 9,000 square feet, which would affect construction costs.
“We have to vet out the plan and get a real price so that we can express that price to City Council,” he said.
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Wayne Hall took a job as an air traffic controller at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport in 2003 thinking he would stay for a short time. Instead he stayed for nearly 17 years and was promoted up to the position of air traffic manager. He reflected on the experience upon retirement.