Young skateboarders and in-line skaters -- sometimes tagged as nuisances by Payson business owners -- will soon be off the streets and onto a new skate park.
The Payson Town Council agreed to allow the Parks and Recreation Department to spend up to $55,000 from the general fund to construct a skating facility at Rumsey Park where the asphalt basketball courts are now located.
According to Recreation Coordinator Beth Kreider, the skate park will be a minimum of 60 x 90 feet or a maximum of 100 x 100 feet, depending on cost.
The recreation department will hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9 in the recreation offices at Green Valley Park to plan the new facility.
One of the chief purposes of the meeting, Kreider said, is to receive input from skating enthusiasts about features of the park.
She encourages the sports proponents to attend and voice their suggestions.
The movement to build such a park has been gaining momentum the past few years. It peaked at a Sept. 22 Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting attended by several young skaters, Town Council member Ken Murphy and Payson Police officer Dave Blalock. Blalock doubles as a Payson School District resource officer.
Several of the skaters told the board members there is a need in Payson for a multi-purpose skate/bike facility. They felt that need had been pushed aside. Some described skating as a serious, competitive sport and not just fun and games.
Blalock lent his support, saying the popularity of skating has greatly increased in Payson and business owners are burdened by the skaters' presence in parking lots and on sidewalks.
Town Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind told the board and audience that the park was a priority with his department.
Schwind committed to ask the council at its next meeting to unleash $55,000 in funds that had earlier been set aside to match an Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund grant. The grant was not matched, and the money has been sitting in the town's general fund.
Murphy also said he supported building such a park.
Schwind obtained the council's approval and construction will begin sometime after input is received at the December meeting.