September 23, 2010 10:53:00 AM
The effort to build a skateboard park in Starkville is gaining momentum.
An interest meeting will be held this evening at the city''s Sportsplex to discuss possible ideas for a skate park. The Starkville Parks and Recreation Department will present brief information on skate parks, then listen to citizens'' questions and concerns, and include that information in the planning process for developing a park in the city, Parks and Recreation Department Director Matthew Rye said.
One location being considered is George Evans Park, between Spring Street and Gillespie Street. Additional details about the park still need to be established, Rye said.
"This is all in the very beginning, preliminary stages," Rye said.
The city is applying for a Tony Hawk Foundation grant, which is awarded to municipalities to build skate parks. Up to $50,000 is available. The deadline to apply is Oct. 1.
The cost of a park in Starkville would depend on what it entails. The Tony Hawk Foundation primarily considers skate parks that are designed and built from concrete, include skaters throughout the planning, fundraising and design process, are proposed in low-income areas or areas with at-risk youth, and where applicants can demonstrate a strong grassroots commitment to the project, particularly in the form of fundraising by local residents and community groups. Grassroots groups and organizations in Starkville most likely would need to raise funds to help pay for the project, Rye said.
If the city were to build a skate park in George Evans Park, whether it consists of concrete or ramps and other obstacles, it would be located in the area of an old basketball court behind the Gillespie Street Center, Rye said.
Rye sees the need for a skate park in the city.
"If you look around, you see a lot of skateboarders just trying to find a place to skate," Rye said. "They''re in parking lots, in the streets and in other areas, but I think this could be a secure, visible, safe site where kids could come and skate. It would serve as a social network, too."
The interest meeting today will take place at 6 p.m. on the second floor of the city''s Sportsplex, located at 405 Lynn Lane.