Arlington is one step closer to providing skate facilities for its estimated 18,000 skaters.After City Council awarded New Line Skateparks the consultant contract on Feb. 7 to design the master plan for the citywide skate park at Vandergriff Park, Arlington can move forward in the planning process.Besides the larger park at Vandergriff, the City will be modifying existing parks to include skate features. Next on the agenda are several public meetings to explain the initial plans for park updates, solicit feedback, and listen to concerns from residents.Matt Young, assistant director of Park Operations and Planning, says the City will hold multiple meetings to discuss improvements for each park. Arlington will also dedicate a webpage to each project, so people can follow the progress if they’re unable to attend the meetings.“We’re trying to do everything we can to reach out to the public. We want people to feel comfortable contacting us directly,” Young said.Why Build Skate ParksArlington, which prides itself on being a destination city, had been lacking specialty parks until recently. When the City updated the parks system master plan in 2004, Arlington purposely included nature preserves, dog parks, and skate parks to the list of recommended projects based on citizen requests during the public meetings.In addition to enhancing Arlington’s park system, the City hopes to provide an opportunity for residents to safely skate close to home, which is why there will be smaller skate facilities called skate spots – perfect for first-time and intermediate skaters – in the neighborhood parks.Currently, skaters have to leave Arlington or skate in areas where they’re not wanted or not protected.No one is a bigger advocate of building safe, legal places skate areas in Arlington than Kim Grobe, who lost her son in a skating accident off of I-20 in 2009.Following his death, Grobe started a nonprofit, Cody Rocamontes Inc. (CRI), to raise awareness about the City’s need for safe, legal skate parks. Besides educating the public, CRI volunteers at City events like Clean Lake Arlington and Ecofest.CRI volunteer Christine Davis wants the public to know that CRI doesn’t plan on abandoning the skate parks after they’re constructed. “We’re there to help maintain them once their built. If there’s graffiti, we’ll clean it.”The Texas Recreation and Parks Society is honoring CRI for all of its efforts with the Outstanding Service Organization Award on March 2.The Parks and Recreation Department encourages residents to participate in the upcoming planning process for skate parks.
Meeting for Burl Wilkes Park
Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012, at 6 p.m.
Hugh Smith Recreation Center, 1815 New York Avenue
Meeting for Randol Mill Park
Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, at 6 p.m.
Wimbish Elementary School, 1601 Wright Street
Meeting for Vandergriff Park
Thursday, March 8, 2012, at 7 p.m.
Bob Duncan Center – Vandergriff Park, 2800 S. Center Street