Mayor backs idea of park for skateboarders

Tim Needham, 17, of Clovis, skates off the sidewalk Wednesday across the street from Sandia Elementary School.

By Jack King

Adam Pendland and a friend already have built a mini-skateboard park in the friend’s driveway. He said Wednesday the idea of a larger skateboard park in Greene Acres Park sponsored by the city of Clovis sounds like a great idea.
“I’m all for it. We had a park at Cannon Air Force Base, but they closed it after Sept. 11. Now we have to drive to Portales,” he said.
Tim Needham said he, too, thinks a city-sponsored skateboard park would be a good alternative to the places Clovis skaters go now. He even had some ideas about what a good skateboard park should have, reciting a list of the structures that help skateboarders do various tricks.
“It could have about five ramps, a bowl, maybe a half-pipe and some rails — and two stair sets,” he said. “The ramps could be wood and some of the rest could be concrete, but there also should be some grass.”
Pendland and Needham, both 16 and students at Clovis High School, are two of a group of devoted skateboarders — one estimate says there may be 500 in Clovis — who fan out in the evenings and on weekends looking for places to skate, often finding them in abandoned buildings, church parking lots and shopping center sidewalks, said Parks and Recreation Department director Rob Carter.
Carter and Mayor David Lansford think the city should provide them with a safer, better supervised and less congested site.
Lansford said he got interested in a park when a group of teenagers and their parents broached the idea to him about a year ago.
“I visited with Rob about it. We looked at a modular set up for a park and a couple of representatives of companies who build the parks made presentations to us in July,” he said.
No date has been set to build the park. Carter said he’ll wait until his department has sufficient money in hand before issuing a request for proposals.
He said he will ask the city to appropriate $50,000 for the park in its capital projects budget for the upcoming year. City commissioners approved a draft budget for 2003-04 on May 28, but the capital projects list has not yet been completed.
Lansford said he doesn’t have a specific amount of money in mind for the project.
“I support appropriating something. We’re looking for funds in our parks and infrastructure gross receipts tax fund. It’s not something for which we’d have to raise taxes,” he said.
Carter said the old tennis court on the west side of Green Acres Park between Mitchell, Purdue, 21st and Main streets is the proposed site.
The site has several advantages, he said. It is close to Clovis High School and centrally located in the city, but far enough from surrounding houses that it is unlikely residents would be disturbed.
Carter said if the city doesn’t appropriate the full $50,000 needed to build the park, or if residents decide they want a bigger, more elaborate park, he could ask citizens and businesses to make donations. They could, he said, “buy a piece of the park.”
“We have similar programs at the zoo and at other city parks. People or businesses could have their names on a sign on the fence around the park,” he said.