DuPont board to seek grant for skate park
The City Council unanimously approved applying for a $250,000 grant for construction of a long-awaited community skate park.
The cost of the 11,000-square-foot park is estimated at about $500,000, Public Works Director Peter Zahn said.
City officials hope to secure a $250,000 grant from the state Recreation and Conservation Office. If successful, the $250,000 budgeted by DuPont will be matched by the state, Zahn said.
City officials at Tuesday's council meeting expressed frustration that the project has been delayed for years.
"We have been promising kids a skate park since before I lived here," councilwoman Penny Coffey said.
Councilman Larry Wilcox said the city has been sending mixed messages to residents.
"We keep making promises and keep changing them," he said. "We need to go ahead with the skate park."
DuPont Park and Recreation Agency board member Andy Estep expressed concerns about spending about $500,000 of public money for a facility that might only appeal to a fraction of the population.
He mentioned the city's Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan survey, which suggests that skateboarding ranks last on a list of activities of interest to DuPont children ages 10 to 18.
In the future, budgets should "prioritize the greatest need for the greatest good," Estep said.
In addition to funding issues, the skate park has been delayed because of environmental concerns. Previous plans would have required removing trees.
The new site plan would place the park in the same geographic area as the previous one. But the version now considered most viable presents a different problem because it would interfere with a stormwater pond.
City planners are looking for water-runoff alternatives, city engineer Dominic Miller said.
If the state grant application is not successful, Zahn said, other funding options could include seeking public donations, constructing a smaller and less-expensive park or killing the project.