Glenwood revamps the skate ramps |

Glenwood revamps the skate ramps

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Rob Campbell doesn’t like the Two Rivers Park skate park. “It sucks. It’s too small,” said Campbell, 19, who uses skate parks to hone his BMX skills.New, smaller ramps were installed recently to replace the older more decrepit ramps that had been there since 1998. Al Laurette, parks superintendent for the city of Glenwood Springs, sees the new additions as an improvement. “The stuff we’re putting in has a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years,” said Laurette.

The new ramps are much more durable and therefore safer than their predecessors.Campbell, however, doesn’t see the new ramps as an improvement to the park. And he’s not the only one. Ask just about any of the skaters (most of whom are between 12 and 19), and they’ll agree with Campbell that the new ramps are simply not big enough to justify the $14,000 spent on them.

Many skaters have some harsh words to roll out concerning the old ramps, the ones that bear thousands of skateboard-wheel gashes and scars, the big half-pipe and its little brother, the quarter-pipe. The other, older ramps may be bigger and perhaps even better, but they’re also a safety hazard.”That ramp’s one of the sketchiest I’ve ever seen,” said Campbell, looking up and down the half-pipe. “It’s just rickety and old.”On the half-pipe, large industrial screws are sticking out of the sheetmetal, making it a hazard. Skaters can be sent flying if their board hits a screw just right.

Plenty of skaters, BMX riders and bladers still frequent the skate park despite their dissatisfaction with it. But they have no other option in Glenwood. Some turn to downtown to satisfy their skating lust. That means treading on private property and skating on cement and metal surfaces.That leads to problems.”Even if you’re just skating by (on the streets downtown), you get yelled at,” said Josh Hen.

Hen, 16, added that if the city put out the money and effort to build a quality skate park, “we’d be here a lot more than downtown.”Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson doesn’t believe that.Wilson said damage in downtown areas is consistent from skaters, and isn’t likely to change, even in the unlikely scenario that the skaters get what they want, which is a cement skate park like the one at Carbondale’s North Face Park.”My opinion is that people who will disrespect another person’s property is they’re going to do it anyway,” said Wilson, who pointed to the Post Office and the area behind US Bank as some of the more popular skater hangouts and consistent places where property damage occurs.

The original skate park in Two Rivers was installed in 1987 and was made of plywood.”In the first few months, a lot of it wore out real quick,” said Laurette.The skate park has demanded constant repairs and attention ever since. “It became a maintenance issue real quick,” said Laurette.The original park was built with $2,000 of city funds, and significant repairs and additions were made in 1998 with another $15,000 of city money.Laurette thinks more work is needed.”It’s past its life expectancy, and we need to replace it,” said Laurette.

Many skaters point to the cement parks of Carbondale and Aspen as the prime skate park venues.Cement appeals to skaters because it offers more traction and lasts longer. Park officials like the idea because it’s tougher and requires less upkeep.

The problem is money. The small new ramps that were just installed cost the parks department $14,000 of its $70,000 budget, said Laurette. Each year, what gets fixed depends on what needs fixing the most. Last year, a big chunk of the budget went toward repairing the tennis courts at Sayre Park.To replace just the dilapidated half-pipe with comparable material will probably run between $40,000 and $50,000. To rip up the whole thing and install a brand-new cement park like Carbondale’s would, at the least, cost $100,000, possibly more. “You’re talking about hypothetical situations, where a park could run anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million,” said Laurette.

The budget for the Carbondale park, which was installed at the end of 2003, was $250,000, with a sizable portion of the funds coming from corporate contributions.Laurette said repairs and additions to the Two Rivers skate park are more of a temporary solution.”I was told just to Band-Aid it,” he said.

To some extent, the city has tried to listen to skaters. In April, City Council held a public meeting to discuss possible improvements.A number of skaters attended the meeting, including Jono Moreau, 15.”They didn’t listen too well when it came to this stuff,” said Moreau, gesturing to the new ramps.Cody Bentz, 16, dismissed the idea that the city listened to them. “Every time we’d mention something, they’d talk about something else, change the subject,” he said.The bottom line is Glenwood skaters aren’t likely to get their wish for a cement park any time soon, said Laurette.”We’re not concerned as much with making it bigger or better, just safer with newer stuff,” said Laurette.Contact John Schroyer: 945-8515, ext. 529

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