Town Launches New Skate Park

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It took more than a year of planning, implementing and budgeting but Payson's skate park became a reality late last week when work crews completed the community's first such facility.

The new skate park -- located in a 100-square-foot area at Rumsey Park --will house state-of-the-art equipment designed to tickle the fancy of the most ardent of skateboarders and in-line skaters.

Obstacles at the beginning of the course include a Bauer box with handrails, quarter pipe and a launch ramp. All can be used for controlled jumps, flips and turns. Midway through, users can perform a variety of tricks on a spine ramp, quarter pipe and fun box.

In finishing, skaters face a half pipe and slider.

It will be up to the users of the park to adhere to the course layout to avoid accidents, injuries and possible disagreements, Town of Payson Parks and Recreation Superintendent Bill Schwind said.

The park equipment, which arrived Tuesday at Rumsey Park, was purchased from Skate Parks International in Brighton, Colo. for about $52,000.

The company -- which designs, fabricates and plans skate parks around the country -- has built similar parks in Mokena, Ill., Cleveland, Ohio, Tacoma, Wash., East Machias, Maine and other cities.

Skate Parks' crew in Payson last week arrived directly from Iowa where, days earlier, they'd built a park similar to the Rumsey facility.

While Skate Parks builds nationwide, Schwind said it's his understanding Payson is the first community in Arizona to use the company.

Most of the parks in the Valley area, such as Scottsdale's El Dorado, are built entirely of concrete.

Skate Parks facilities are unique in that they feature prefabricated steel skating equipment which is shipped in panels and assembled on site.

Schwind said the metal equipment should be more maintenance-free than traditional concrete and also provide the users a better performing and much easier landing surface.

How it happened
The push for a skate park began last fall at a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting attended by Payson Police Officer Dave Blaylock and several skateboarding/in-line skating proponents.

Blaylock told the board of a definite need for a skate park in the community.

Many youngsters, he said, are skating in the parking lots of local businesses, which is creating problems for both owners and customers.

At least one councilman, Ken Murphy, threw his support behind the project.

Initially, finding the funds necessary to build a park was a problem. Eventually, however, Schwind uncovered a capital outlay budget of about $50,000, originally intended to be used as matching funds for a state Heritage grant to build new basketball courts at Rumsey.

Because the Heritage grant was not received, Schwind was able to the divert the money to the skate park.

After an OK was received from the town council to go ahead with the project, Schwind traveled to Phoenix to evaluate both private and public skate parks in the Valley.

Also, recreation officials held a public forum last December in which skaters and skateboarders were asked to provide input on the features they felt the new park should incorporate.

Recreation coordinator Beth Kreider headed the meeting. "We had catalogs of (skating) equipment and a dollar amount we could spend," she said. "We let the kids vote on what they wanted."

Skate Parks International, Schwind said, met most of the criteria he and the eventual users were looking for.

Originally, volunteer labor was to build the concrete pad Skate Parks required to install the equipment. However, that labor didn't materialize and Schwind had to once again scour the budget to find money to hire a local construction company to build the pad.

Schwind found about $30,000 of capital money that had been set aside to improve the sand volleyball courts.

Recreation officials opted to use that money to hire Amon Builders to lay the concrete. Amon completed the project in mid-June and all that remained was to await the arrival of the Colorado company to install the equipment.

Rules of conduct at Rumsey Skate Park

The new skate park will be open during the normal Rumsey operating hours of daylight until midnight.

Posted rules read:
• Use the skate park at your own risk.

  • This facility is for skateboards and in-line skates only.
  • No bicycles or other wheeled devices are allowed.
  • Helmet, wrist, elbow and kneepads should be warn at all times.
  • No not use when wet conditions are present.
  • No food or drink inside skating area.
  • Pay phone is available and located at the restroom building.

Any competitive or demonstration events require special approval from the P& R Department.

Call 474-5242, ext. 7 for more information on the skate park.

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