City starts rolling toward new skate park
TNE Editor
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City starts rolling toward new skate park

Published 3/20/17

Thomas Gardner

TNE Writer

With the vote deadlocked, Jason Nichols, city of Tahlequah mayor, was called upon to break the tie and did so in favor of soliciting bids for a new city skate park. That is the latest update on the Tahlequah skate park. Along with the city’s budget for this fiscal year there was an amount of $250,000 that was approved and set aside for the possible upgrading of the skate park. When the budget was first approved that number stuck out amongst some of the locals as an unnecessary expense.

Councilors Bliss and Long both voted no on the action while councilors Carrol and Highers voted in support of moving forward and soliciting bids for the upgrading of the skate park. This made the mayor’s vote necessary, and he, too, chose to move forward with the project.

"We think that projects like the skate park make Tahlequah an attractive place to live and work,” said Nichols. "That's why we're pushing for not just the skate park project, but other, similar quality-of-life projects to be completed.”

This action passing allows the city to start the process of soliciting bids from construction companies to complete the upgrades on the skate park. The city will take three bids from competing companies and present those bids again to the city council for a vote. In order for a bid to be selected, the city council must vote to accept it with a majority. At that point the winning construction company could begin work within the following weeks.

Even though this is a step toward eventually finishing the project, not all local skaters are convinced.

“I have seen the city put off working on the skate park for over 10 years now,” said David Camden, Tahlequah resident and longtime skateboarder. “This has been a goal of the city for a long time and yet they have not upgraded or even helped with up keep of the skate park since its creation.”

The skating community in town has come together for the last 10 years and organized benefits and contests each year that all raised about $1000 a piece. The group has come together twice to paint over graffiti with supplies and paint they purchased themselves.

Camden said all of that money was put back into the skate park in one way or another.

“We have a lot of passionate kids in this town that really love skating and have come out here and proved that they care about this place by working to improve it,” said Camden. “All we are asking is that our city do the same.”

There are several spots within the skate park that have broken down with age. It currently lacks a bathroom, a water fountain and proper lighting. All of these are things that the skating community hopes will be addressed in the possible upgrade, as well as bringing some variety to the skate park with a handful of new ramps and quarter pipes.

The night of the vote the skating community was well-represented in the council chamber and when the decision to solicit bids was approved there was loud applause.

“The kids that skate here believe in this place, and they deserve to see this upgrade happen,” said Brian Barlow, Tahlequah resident.

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