During the past several years, the Waxahachie City Council and city staff have been approached a number of times by groups of kids and parents about the possibility of building a skate park.
“I think it’s been a topic for three, maybe four years,” parks and recreation director John Smith said, noting those requests have not gone unheard.
In the recently adopted 2007 Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan, Chapter 7 includes a prioritized list for recreational facilities the city should develop.
The plan includes the skate park as one of the top 10 priorities for the city, calling it a “key facility.”
Although the park is shown as No. 10 on the list of development priorities, it rises in importance when other factors are considered, Smith said.
“If you look at it, it’s really No. 7 or 8,” he said, saying the list includes the Senior Citizens Center - where work has already begun - and an indoor recreation center.
The prioritized list was created using a “citizen attitude survey” in conjunction with current facility standards.
Support for a skate park is present among the city staff and the Waxahachie Park Board, Smith said, adding that for the board, a skate park “is a necessity.”
City Manager Paul Stevens seconds that position, saying, “I think it is a good idea. … All you have to do is look around town and see how many kids skate.
“I definitely think a skateboard park ought to be in our future,” Stevens said.
While a potential site has not been identified, Smith said the city is considering certain criteria relating to placement.
“We’ll need to have it in a place where the park will be visible and be in an accessible place,” Smith said.
“The most accessible place for the most people would probably be up around the (U.S. Highway) 77 and (U.S. Highway) 287 intersection, but a lot of the kids who skate are coming downtown,” Smith said, noting that were the city to put the park somewhere around downtown, it would run into other issues such as congestion and land availability.
Once a site was decided upon, the city would need to keep the park well-maintained, Smith said, adding that maintenance is not solely for aesthetic reasons.
By keeping the park in good order, the city would satisfy one element of protecting itself from liability, Smith said, addressing a common concern about the construction of such a park. Other elements include the posting of signage and a requirement that protective equipment be worn.
“If the city takes take certain steps, liability is not an issue,” Smith said.
The Park Board meets July 12 to discuss its role and priorities, Smith said, noting that he expects - per the master plan - that a skate park could be included in the discussion.
E-mail Anthony at Anthony.Trojan@waxahachiedailylight.com