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Town approves 2nd phase of skatepark

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ST. IGNATIUS — After a long wait, the Skate Ignatius Skatepark project is once again running full steam ahead.

The St. Ignatius Town Council approved a revised plan for the skatepark’s second phase at its Feb. 2 meeting. The plan, which is “just pretty much scaled down” from the original version, includes a combination of street and bowl-skating elements that are designed to allow both beginners and more experienced skaters to enjoy the park, explained Skate Ignatius organizer Kristie Nerby.

“We still were able to keep the kidney bowl design,” she added.

Dreamland Skateparks, the same company that designed and built Phase I, is on board for the second half of the project. Once workers break ground, construction should take four to six weeks, unless things move even faster as with Phase I.

“These people build skateparks all over the world,” Nerby said. “They’re amazing, how hard and fast they can work and still put out a quality product.”

The budget for the revamped 7,000-square-foot design is $90,000, a significant reduction from the $263,500 projected for the original Phase II plan. Following council approval of the project, now the only holdup to starting construction is the wait for the last bit of funding, Nerby said. With the opportunity to raise in-kind donations on several budget items, she estimated that Skate Ignatius is about $19,000 away from breaking ground.

And it’s been a long road to this point, Nerby explained.

Since the completion of the skatepark’s first phase in 2007, the town council has heard public concerns over the necessity of doubling the park’s size, town council and parks board member Marine Johnson explained. Adequate parking space, vandalism, park maintenance and skatepark users not cleaning up after themselves were all matters of concern listed in various town council meeting minutes from last year, city clerk Lee Ann Gottfried said. Those concerns, coupled with the difficulty of fundraising in a recession, led to the parks board and Nerby revamping the plan for the second phase.

“All of that kind of came to a head when the economy fell apart,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of a work in progress … we do have to listen to our public.”

So early last year, council member Rod Arlint, Johnson and Nerby “hashed out a plan that would benefit everyone involved,” Johnson explained. “I think we did come up with a good compromise.”

“It’s taken me … until last week to get my redesign from my contractor,” Nerby noted at last week’s council meeting.

Nerby also had to put fundraising on hold for several months last year as she dealt with health issues that kept her from functioning as the driving force behind Skate Ignatius.

“That really has undermined my ability to multitask,” she said.

But after a “long wait to get the green light” on the revised design, Nerby said she’s re-inspired and excited that the project is on track for completion. She plans to dedicate all her energy to the search for funding, and said she would love help from community members. Her goal is to have the project completed by the end of the summer, “if I can stay healthy,” she said.

“This project has turned out to be such an awesome thing for this community,” Nerby added. “I hope people will be inspired to know that Phase II is ready to roll … and will help me get this project across the finish line.”

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