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Council will support skateboard in Sikeston

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Sikeston skateboarders and their parents attended Monday's City Council meeting.
SIKESTON -- The Sikeston City Council will issue a letter of support for a city skatepark.

Evelyn Comstock acted as spokesperson for the 25 parents and young people who attended the regular City Council meeting Monday to express their interest in seeing a skatepark built here.

"They really would love to have this in Sikeston," Comstock said. She said Jackson, Scott City, Portageville and New Madrid are already in the process of building community skateparks.

"We obviously have a lot of kids involved in this sport," Comstock said, noting that business owners frequently run skateboarders off because they are afraid the skaters will get hurt on their property.

Comstock said she has noted that a skatepark is listed among Sikeston's future projects and asked about moving it up the list.

"They're really interested," she said of the local skaters. "It's a good sport. It keeps them off the computer or playing games in front of the TV."

Jiggs Moore, parks division director, confirmed the city's Five-Year Capital Improvements Plan lists $60,000 for a skatepark, which is about the same amount spent by Jackson on theirs. The $60,000 figure includes about $20,000 for a concrete pad and another $40,000 for ramps and other features, according to Moore. New Madrid's skatepark is reportedly being built for about $40,000 as an old tennis court is being used as the concrete base.

Councilman Jerry Pullen asked where a skatepark could be located.

Moore said the two primary sites being considered are Central Park and the Sports Complex.

Central Park would be a good location as there are no major thoroughfares for skaters to cross to get to it and it has plenty of room, according to Moore.

He said the Sports Complex would also be good as there are already many sports facilities there and a skatepark would "add to that comprehensive recreational theme for that park."

Moore said the Jackson skatepark received funding from two Optimist clubs.

Mayor Mike Marshall acknowledged he runs skaters off his business and that a skatepark "is a fair, legitimate request."

Marshall suggested those in favor of a skatepark should raise money to help pay for the facility as the Parks Department has a lot of other expenses to pay for out of its budget. "I think the city would do their part," he said.

"I've been for it for several years," Councilman Jerry Pullen said. "Could we come up with part of the money? Could the city come up with some kind of match?"

Karen Bailey, deputy city clerk, said insurance is not a problem and should not incur any additional cost for a skatepark.

Marshall agreed to have the city issue a letter of support to assist the skaters in their grassroots fundraising efforts and suggested a committee be formed to decide on a location.