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City commissioners approve design/build for skatepark expansion

POLSON — Polson skateboarders filled the back couple of rows in city hall at the April 20 city commission meeting to support their plan to expand Polson’s skatepark.

The skateboarders want to extend the borders of the current skatepark 25 feet out on the north, south and west sides, and 22 feet out to the east, to preserve the trees. The expansion would include a street course for rookie skateboarders to develop their skills.

“Skateboarding has been a big part of my life,” said Jesse Vargas, a skateboarder who has spearheaded the effort. “I’d love to see this go through, not only for myself but for future generations to enjoy.” 

Polson Parks Director Karen Sargeant supports the project and the skateboarders, who she called a big-hearted bunch concerned about the younger boarders who are just coming up. The group also polices the skatepark and keeps it looking nice, she said.

While skaters aren’t asking for money from the city, Sargeant and Polson City Engineer Shari Johnson proposed a motion to use an alternate design/buildmethod, which was successfully used for the new city dock and the walking path under the Armed Forces Memorial Bridge.

The design/build method means the Parks and Recreation Department will prepare a request for experts in skatepark design. 

“You just can’t find many who can design a skatepark,” Johnson said.

Once the experts have sent in their qualifications and have had them validated, they will receive input on what the city and the skateboarders are looking for and come up with a preliminary proposal. Then the project will be put out to bid.

An anonymous donor presented the Polson Skatepark on 7th Avenue West with approximately $300,000 so it was able to hold its grand opening in 2006. So far the skaters haven’t been so lucky this time around. They have donation cans throughout town and are looking for a grant writer to help them write a grant.

The commission passed the motion unanimously.

Sargeant updated the commissioners on two ongoing projects — the lights being installed in Sacajawea and Riverside Parks, and the interpretive signs being set up from Salish Point down to the new city dock, around Sacajawea Park, under the bridge, and in Riverside Park. 

In other business, the commissioners received 12 applications for positions on the Economic Development Committee and will winnow that number down to seven.

Mayor Heather Knutson suggested sending each candidate three or four questions via email so commissioners can get a better picture of each person. The commissioners agreed to submit their questions to Mayor Knutson who will email applicants, compile their answers and send them to the commissioners. Applicants are Larry Ashcraft, Paul Briney, Geraldine Browning, Lewis Cross, Becky Dupuis, Mark Evertz, Rich Forbis, Rick Hill, Rick LaPiana, Carlisa London, Lou Marchello and Russell Stone. 

The commission approved the findings of fact for a preliminary plat request for the two-lot Walgreens’ subdivision, east of Safeway.

They also approved the special use permit request for the Polson Youth Soccer Association.

The next city commission meeting is Monday, May 4, at 7 p.m.


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