The skaters’ facility at Desert Vista Park is about to get $732,000 in improvements as The Town Council approved renovations to the skate park during its Nov. 15 regular session.
The skaters’ facility, which opened in 2007, was originally planned for a second phase that has never been built. With the 15-year age of the existing structure its condition has become a concern and repairs are needed. Staff has concerns about future safety issues.
Deputy Town Manager/Community Services Director Rachael Goodwin told the council the facility has always been popular, but since the installation of lighting in 2021, use has increased by 300% with the ability to use the park during evening hours.
“As renewed interest in the skate park has continued, Brilliant Victory Skateboard, a local business, partnered with Community Services to introduce a new Skate School Program and the Fountain Hills Skate Classic event,” Goodwin said. “Both programs saw sellout crowds and generated significant local suggestions to improve the skate park facilities.”
After the skate park improvements were included in the Capital Improvement Plan for the fiscal year staff moved ahead to gather public input regarding desired improvements. In June a public meeting drew about 25 local residents interested in skating. They discussed the current condition of the facility and proposed suggestions for improvement. The group ranged in age from eight to 48, according to Goodwin. A follow-up survey gathered an additional 90 responses from the public.
Based on the feedback the project is to include improvements to layout, additional features to provide beginner, intermediate and advanced users an enhanced individual experience. The addition of a pump track, a skate bowl and improved ramps have been included in the design at the users’ suggestion.
“(Contractor) American Ramp Company has worked to include these features while continuing to stay within the approved budget,” Goodwin said.
Council members raised some concerns related to the cost of the improvements. Goodwin noted that $300,000 of the cost is coming from development fees dedicated to parks use. Also, other items in the CIP budget, such as a shade canopy at the Centennial Circle, are being deferred. Town Manager Grady Miller noted that staff had committed to seek out grant funding for the shade structure and will continue to do so. One grant application for that project has been denied.