Committee exploring skatepark move

Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

The Recreation Board Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the Portales Recreation Center parking lot as the new site for the city’s skatepark.

A proposal with design and costs still needs to be presented before the Portales City Council for final approval.

Members of the Portales Skatepark Organization agreed with the choice at Thursday’s meeting.

The Rotary Park location will remain until a new park is completed. Also, the groups are still discussing whether or not skate park users would need to pay the annual $5 membership fee.

Preliminary designs show the 14,400 square-foot skate park would located in front of the recreation center. The proposed skatepark would be at least 66 feet from 18th Street and 100 feet from South Avenue I. The park would also be surrounded by a chain-link fence.

Mary Carvey of the Portales Skatepark Organization said the north side of the recreation center is the best location because of the lighting and visibility for Portales Police Department officers patrolling the area.

Carvey has two children that use the skate park at its current location.

“The key is to get everybody on the same page,” said Ron Jackson, Recreation Board Committee president. “This committee has made a commitment to move it. That’s the location we want to move it to.”

City officials sent surveys to the public earlier this year, and many were against the skate park being at Rotary Park. In some surveys, complaints included teens smoking around children, the park’s danger to younger children, the proximity to youth baseball fields, and the use of foul language around young children.

City Manager Debi Lee said another concern was from police officers who are not able to view activity at the park.
Portales Skatepark Organization members will also come up with ways to fund the construction.

“We have some of the kids from the organization who are raising money and some of the businesses want to help with donations,” Carvey said.

Recreation Director Johnny Ledbetter said he has been looking into possible grants to help fund the park.
City officials hope to have cost estimates from the Portales Skatepark Organization members for the next recreation meeting on Sept. 15.