A park to call their own


by Alysun O'Brien

With the sights and sounds of spring in our midst, a warm-weather phenomena is returning to campus – skateboarders and rollerbladers.

Fortunately for many, the city of Indianola has come up with a solution to the problem of these individuals skating in unwanted areas. A city skate park is officially in the works.

“Part of the reason the skate park is being built is to relieve the problem of skateboarders and rollerbladers being in places where they aren’t wanted,” said Glen Cowan, director of parks and recreation for Indianola. “We need to keep them off the curbs, parking lots and private properties.”

The idea for a skate park developed in 1998 when kids from the Indianola community contacted the City Council.

The council gave charge to the parks and recreation department and a public interest meeting was held.

After the meeting the kids took over to make sure they got a skate park.

They developed a petition and gathered approximately 600 signatures and took it back to the City Council and the ball started rolling.

Fundraising was the next hurdle for proponents of the skate park. Kids and parents held many fundraisers and started a campaign for people to donate money to the project.

Their efforts proved to be successful. They raised $60,000.

“These kids raised more money than any other groups trying to get a skate park in their community,” said Cowan.

Grant proposals were made in an attempt to reach their final goal was also done, bringing in an additional $105,000. The city budget allowed for them to receive another $105,000.

Simpson students see an advantage of a community skate park because such a facility will rid the campus of skateboarders and rollerbladers on afternoons and weekends.

“I think it’s good that they are building a skate park because it gets annoying to see high schoolers jumping off the library steps,” said senior Shane Bogaards.

Safety is also a concern with kids using the campus as a skate park. Students and other patrons have to be on higher alert with kids skating in high traffic areas.

“I think they definitely could use a skate park because I don’t think there is a reasonable area for them to do their skate board stuff,” said junior Amy VanPelt. “It is very disruptive to our campus when they use it for their skate boarding.”

Cowan said the biggest reason for building the skate park is the fact that other special interest groups have facilities for their activities, such as baseball, softball and soccer fields.

“It’s a need of the community,” said Cowan. “We really haven’t had anything for skateboarders or rollerbladers, this will give them a place to go.”

The skate park is expected to be finished late summer or early fall, depending on the weather, and will be located in Memorial Park west of campus. The park will be open to the public and will be free of charge, but patrons using the park will be expected to follow rules and regulations.