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EDITORIAL: Find a home for new skatepark

Discussion about a skatepark in New Richmond can be traced back to at least 2005, when the YMCA announced plans to install a facility for skateboarders and inline skaters.

Since then, various skatepark backers and enthusiastic kids have developed plans and raised money for a new local facility, catering to the extreme sports crowd. Nothing has ever materialized.

Now another group is taking a stab at the idea. A small group of Leadership Trust Initiative graduates (including Lynette McCarty, Jim Zajkowski and Jeff Peplau) have taken up the skatepark torch and run with it.

By the looks of it, the park facility may actually become reality this time. And that would be a great thing for the community and its younger population.

Many communities in the region have installed such skateparks and they are popular places during the warm weather months. It's really surprising that a community the size of New Richmond has fallen behind so many others in installing such a facility with jumps, rails and other obstacles.

The latest idea is to install pavement on the southern edge of Cyclone Park, right across from the New Richmond Police Department. A few questions about the site remain, including the extent of the right-of-way off of Knowles Avenue and whether that will mean the skatepark would have to go somewhere else.

There also appear to be other questions about the legal liability the city may face by installing such a skatepark, and the ramifications if an on-site supervisor isn't hired.

Even with some uncertainty, if the questions can be adequately addressed, and the funding for the project can be finalized, it's time for the community to step up and finally push it to completion. Whether it is across from the police department or somewhere else, the time for a new skatepark has come.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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