The sculpted concrete at Mills Park was crawling with Carson City youths on wheels Monday afternoon. With school out, the skatepark was a popular spot, even though the small site is not the most popular skateboard place in the area.
"I think this park sucks," said Brian Hofius, 17, of Carson. "It's no good. All the curbs are chunked up."
Hofius is not alone in his frustrations. Eric Robie, owner of Out of Bounds skate-, snow- and wakeboard shop, is leading an effort to build a better skatepark in Carson City.
When it was built in 1997, it was the first of its kind in Northern Nevada. Several more challenging parks that are larger and have many more features have been added in surrounding areas.
Robie will ask the city's Parks and Recreation Commission today to allow a new facility, possibly as large as 40,000 square feet, to be built at Centennial Park off of Highway 50 East in the next few years.
Robie has met recently with city parks staff who have agreed to the idea.
Staff are recommending the commission allow the location of a skatepark at the park south of the upper softball complex and east of the tennis courts. The location will not require the city pay for construction, the staff report says.
If the plan is approved, Robie said he expects the park will cost an estimated $500,000. He plans to raise funds through events and raffles and to look into getting funding from national skatepark foundations.
Robie's customers travel just about anywhere else to skate in better parks, he said. Since the Mills Park facility was built, other larger parks have been built at Gardnerville, Stead, Sparks, Reno and Spanish Springs.
He has watched the sport grow from attracting only 8- to 16-year-olds; now it is not uncommon to see 4-year-olds skate.
"It's not just a kids' thing anymore," Robie, 35, said. "You're dealing with guys like me who will come and skate the bowls."
The Gardnerville skatepark at Lampe Park, run by Douglas County, has attracted skaters and skate teams from all over the country, he said.
"Professional teams go out of their way on tour to go to that park," Robie said. He is hoping that by building the new Carson City facility, teams will hold demonstration events in the city.
Carson City skater Hofius said he thinks the new park is a good idea.
"It keeps kids out of trouble and gives them something to do," he said.
IF YOU GO
What: Parks and Recreation Commission regular meeting
When: 5:30 p.m. today
Where: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.