Skateboarders turn out to protest ban

Skateboarders are protesting a proposed city ordinance that would ban skateboarding in downtown Carson City.

Carson City Redevelopment Authority Citizen's Committee members have spent more than a month working with the District Attorney's Office to create the new ordinance that would prevent skateboarding and rollerblading in the downtown area.

Several businesses in areas such as Telegraph Square complained of property damage and danger to pedestrians by careless skateboarders, prompting the committee's look at a skateboarding ban.

Skateboarders said a skateboard park at Mills Park wasn't challenging enough. Businesses in the downtown area have reported skateboarders jumping off ATM machines onto sidewalks, a thrill the skateboard park apparently can't match.

"The kids were well spoken and very polite, but we tried to tell them that downtown in Telegraph Square wasn't the best spot for them," Supervisor Robin Williamson said. "They like the thrill of doing it, but that doesn't condone destroying property. I'm well aware that if we push them out of downtown, they'll go somewhere else. I'm willing to find a solution."

Williamson said she is setting up a meeting with park officials, skateboarders and downtown businesses to work on a solution. The committee opted Wednesday to stall the ordinance discussions until a solution from that meeting is presented.

Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens said skateparks were built so kids wouldn't be arrested for skateboarding. Carson City should be commended, he said, for building the park first and then seeking an ordinance later.

Kastens said kids who learned to skate at the Mills Park site, built in 1997, are now looking for new challenges. They complain that the edges of the concrete have been ground off, taking some of the fun out of skateboarding.

If he could do one thing differently, Kastens said, it would be to put steel along concrete edges to prevent erosion. Now, however, it's not likely the city will expand the Mills skateboard park. Adding more difficult jumps and pits would create a liability for the city, which Kastens said the city doesn't need.

In other items:

-- The redevelopment committee decided any money from the sale of land on Old Clear Creek Road to Costco should go to the city's general fund. City supervisors have the discretion to spend the money how they wish.

The land is estimated at $3.2 million.

In a meeting with Fuji Park users last week, three city supervisors said they were committed to spending the sale money on Fuji Park. Williamson said she agrees that maintenance at the park has been deferred too long, but before much work is done the city should look at how Costco and the park get along.

"If it won't be possible for them to coexist, I'd feel bad to do a lot of improvements and then tear them up," Williamson said. "But I think we should go forward with some improvements."

The school district , Carson City library, and parks and recreation commission have alls said they'd like to see some of the sales proceeds.

Costco plans to build a 148,000-square-foot warehouse on an 18-acre site north of Fuji Park. The deal has sped through city channels with the land being added to the city's redevelopment district. The move allowed the city to deal with one entity rather than go through a public bid process. The soonest the city could sell the land to Costco would be Thursday.


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