N.C. talks skate park again

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

The New Castle City Commission once again considered the issue of a skate park Monday night as New Castle area Magistrate Nick Hawkins came before the commission to plead the case for a skateboard park in Henry County.

He said that skateboard park proponents, Jackson Scott and Charlie Sorenson, brought the idea to Henry County Fiscal Court. However, the consensus of that group was that the skateboard park would be a danger at the Henry County Park due to a lack of sidewalks leading to the park. Hawkins said the magistrates also cited the many commitments the county already has at the park.

He told commissioners that he met with Carrollton officials where a skateboard park is in operation at Point Park. American Ramp Company was the builder in Carrollton. Hawkins said costs range from $25,000 to $300,000. He also noted that Carrollton saw no change in insurance premiums because of the skateboard park.

Hawkins told commissioners that grants up to $25,000 are available from the Tony Hawk Foundation, and stated that the county would be willing to “make a substantial financial contribution” to such a project.

“I do think these guys are trying awfully hard to get this going,” Hawkins said. “It’s something they’re passionate about.”

Scott outlined a financial plan to get the ball rolling on funding for the project. He proposed establishment of a non-profit entity to raise funds for the skateboard park. The group would apply for grants and government funds, approach businesses and individuals within the community, look into support from healthy kid programs and talk to skateboarding companies about sponsorship.

Mayor Judy Diederich offered advice. “Don’t let the tail wag the dog,” she said. “Get organized first.” Diederich told the boys to conduct research to determine how much local interest there is. Diederich said they should approach their peers at school to find out how many would use it.

She further recommended they try to get several different groups involved. She said they should get the support of parents and business people in the community. “Get your committees organized,” Diederich said.

She also suggested they talk to Eminence officials. “You’ll have a better shot at getting this done if you involve the whole community,” Diederich said.

Commissioner Tim Royalty agreed. “This could be a county project,” he said. Royalty said it would be a good idea to get the mayors of each city involved.

Commissioners and the mayor agreed to secure a spot on the Eminence City Council meeting agenda on Aug. 11 to discuss the possibility of teaming up with Eminence in support of a skateboard park project.

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