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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of July 31 - August 6, 2002

News

Bellevue plans public skateboard park

City eyes state parcel north of downtown


By GREGORY FOLEY
Express Staff Writer

Bellevue City Council members on Thursday voted unanimously to pursue a plan to acquire a piece of state land north of downtown for a public skateboard park.

The decision came after a lengthy discussion led by Councilwoman Tammy Schofield, who advised the panel that $8,000 in grants to the city from two foundations to build the park could be lost if a decision on the project was delayed.

Bellevue Councilwoman Tammy Schofield (pictured) has been negotiating with state officials to acquire a parcel of land the city can use for a public skateboard park, including this favored site across the highway from Valley Market on the north end of town.

Urged by Schofield and Councilman Wayne Douthit, the council approved submitting an application to the Idaho Department of Transportation for permission to build the park on an abandoned railroad right of way adjacent to Spruce Street.

"Itís time to do this, or send the [grant] money back," Douthit said.

Schofield, who has been the cityís primary proponent of the park, was visibly elated after receiving the green light to proceed with planning the park.

Schofield said after the meeting that she believes that support from the council to acquire the land was the last big obstacle for the project.

"The key thing was getting a location, and I wasnít going to give up," she said, adding that the park could "bring up the status of the City of Bellevue and its kids."

Schofield explained that she believes the park can be built for about $10,000, all of which has been raised through two grants and a series of fund-raising initiatives in town. She noted that the city currently has about $12,000 budgeted for the project, none of which involve city tax revenues.

The city late last year received a $3,000 grant from the Idaho Community Foundation to help pay for the facility. Later, the Deer Creek Foundation gave the city an additional $5,000 for the project.

Schofield said that conditions of the ICF grant stipulate that the money be spent by the end of September, specifically to help construct the skateboard park. She said that a large portion of the grant money will be spent for an asphalt surface at the site, which would then be equipped with renovated wooden skateboarding structures that the city received at no cost from the City of Hailey.

Eventually, Schofield said, the park could be outfitted with a set of mobile, steel structures, which typically last longer and cost less to maintain, and an assortment of trees and public benches.

"My main focus is getting something in," she said. "Iím going to do what I can with what we have."

She said that the state has indicated it would first provide an "encroachment permit" to the city to use the site, and would eventually transfer title to the land.

Council members debated Thursday whether they should advocate building the skateboarding facility in an established city-owned park, but determined the project would be more successful at Schofieldís proposed site.

Four Bellevue youths made an appearance at Thursdayís meeting to voice their support for the skateboard park, one of whom said that some 20 others in town would likely use the proposed facility.

Schofield herself estimated that there are more than 30 youths in town who would use the park.

 

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