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Dunedin to get skate park

Dude! Commissioners approve a contract to build a $542,000 park.

By SHEELA RAMAN
Published March 8, 2007


DUNEDIN - It will have every risky element a skateboarder lives for: bowls, ledges, ramps and benches.

All will combine into one giant complex next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center now that Dunedin city commissioners have approved a contract to build a state-of-the art skate park.

The proposal passed 3-2 Thursday. Commissioners Julie Scales and Dave Eggers voted against moving forward with the park until some cost-trimming options were considered. The park will cost the city $542,000, more than double the city's original budget of $270,000.

"This is the Cadillac of skate parks," Scales said. "I think we need to revisit the scope."

City Manager Rob Dispirito said the city could benefit from a skate park, but he recommended rejecting the proposal because it was over the original budget.

For skateboarding aficionados, the approval was nine years in the making. The city first started talking about a skate park after Dunedin Middle School proposed the idea to the commission. The city's first attempt at a skate park, constructed in the space between the Martin Luther King Jr. Center and the recreation center in 2000-01, cost $130,000 but lasted only two years. Its wooden structure became unstable, and it was demolished in 2003.

David Adams, a longtime Dunedin resident who has been skateboarding for the past 39 years, said he is glad commissioners finally realized that it is worth it to invest in a quality skate park. The proposed park will be designed by Team Pain, a company known for building durable and attractive skate parks in the Southeast.

"This will be the best skate park in west-central Florida," he said. "And in the end, it will cost taxpayers less because it will not break down like the last one."

Mayor Bob Hackworth said he is excited about the new project. He said the city will try to seek federal grant money to finance part of the project so that the burden does not fall entirely on taxpayers.

"But it wouldn't be a bad thing for taxpayers to pay for to begin with," he said. "I think it will attract people from all over the region, not just from Dunedin.

"It'll probably be one of the four or five best skate parks nationwide," he said.

Sheela Raman can be reached at sraman@sptimes.com or 727 445-4158.

Fast Facts:

Martin Luther King Jr. Recreational Center Skate Park

Street course will include:

- Two back-to-back "angled" manual pads/grind boxes

- Long set of three stairs

- Long set of five stairs

- Long handrail on the five-stair

- Banked curb

- Long low-pitched beginner rail

- Kicker to ledge

Flow bowl will include:

- Cradle corner

- Two hips

- 12-foot pool coping extension

- Two escalators

- Eight corners

- Depths of 5 to 7 feet