Residents: Skate park should be back on table

File Photo: A group of residents again broached the subject of a skate park in Auburn at Tuesday’s council meeting. This time, they were armed with a video presentation, statistics and stories and comments from other cities with skate parks.

Construction began in September for a new skate park for the residents of both Opelika and Auburn.

The park has remained in the works since Auburn City Council approved the demolition of the tennis courts at Indian Pines Golf Course in February. The skate park is being built where the tennis courts used to sit.

Originally, construction was set to begin on Aug. 23, according to the Auburn Parks and Recreation website, but Auburn Parks and Recreation Director Becky Richardson said that work did not truly begin until about the second week in September due to delays.

This project is supported dually by Auburn and Opelika. Auburn is in charge of the construction of the project, but is splitting the cost with Opelika. In addition, daily upkeep will be Auburn’s responsibility but renovation and repair costs will be split between the two cities.

“There’s a big need out there and there’s a lot of people that are interested in [skating]” said Opelika Parks and Recreation Director, Sam Bailey said. “Becky and I don’t skateboard, but heck, a lot of kids do and up until now, or up until this project’s completed there’s not really a dedicated place for them to do that.”

Working with Opelika has been a great opportunity, Richardson said.

“We’ve worked together well,” Bailey said. “I think it’s something that we both have a common goal with. It’s easy to work well when you’ve got a common goal with somebody and both communities needed this and had a lot of requests for this.”

Auburn attempted to have a skate park years ago, but was unsuccessful since it was not popular, Richardson said.

“Being able to share the cost with Opelika, we were able to build a bigger park and so having both cities use it, we think will give it a more viable option of being a success,” she said.

Bailey said that the collaboration will give skaters a nicer park than had each city built their own.

“I think based on the feedback we got when the company was here and we actually had two companies that came in and presented and it sounds like the kids are excited about there being a lot of different options on the park, not just a bowl but some of the park style skating,” Richardson said.

The timeline for completing the skate park is hopefully a few months from the start date of construction, according to the company. Early 2020 would be a goal for completion, she said.

Auburn Parks and Rec will continue to update citizens as construction progresses, Richardson said.

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