LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The dream of Lufkin having a skatepark will soon become a reality after funds came in under budget on the recent capital improvements campaign by the City of Lufkin.
Because several projects came under budget, the city announced earlier this week that they would be able to build a skatepark at Kiwanis Park, update the boat ramp and fishing pier at Kurth Lake, add a restroom to Brandon Park and street improvements around Garrett Primary.
The skatepark appears to have gotten the most response.
"We were ecstatic," Amy Dunn said. "It is an exciting thing."
The park will be put where two of the existing tennis courts sit at Kiwanis Park.
"We looked at it and said there are so many at Kiwanis that are not being used," Parks and Recreation Director Mike Akridge said. "We decided to put it on the first two spots. We are going to go in and tear up the concrete and then pour new concrete down and then the group we buy the pieces from will come in and lay down the equipment. The lights are already there and it is an inclosed area so it will be safe for the kids."
Lufkin City Manager said he first met with members of the community in the spring who expressed concerns. At the time the city had no money for the project but the CIP funds became available and Wright thought now was the time to act.
"We had a skatepark in a couple of the different CIP Packages that never did make the cut," Wright said. "It is something we have been wanting to do for a while."
Dunn and others that have been petitioning for the park saw the announcement on Sept. 6 as a victory but still have concerns.
"We are very grateful," Dunn said. "t is a huge gift to the community. I just am concerned at the construction. The modular's have to be maintained and I think in the long run the city might be a little disappointed because of the hit they will take. We think that concrete would be better. It is smoother and a lot of skaters really prefer that as the way to skate."
Dunn knows that the construction of a concrete park would be more expensive but she thinks the group could raise more funds if they were given time. Wright said that the city did visit several other skateparks in the region before making the decision.
"We were worried that with concrete the park would start to get cracks and that it would not be as smooth in the corners," Wright said. "The cost would also be double what we are looking at."
The park is being designed by the American Ramp Company. The surface is made out of Maxgrip polyester powder coat with a 3/16 steel riding surface. Wright noted that the equipment had a 20 year warranty.
Wright said he is happy the project is finally working and is hopeful that those concerned will be satisfied with the finished project.
"We want to do something and I think this is the best that we can do," Wright said. "We can look at it in the future if we see this is a thing that really grows and takes off, that we can do more later but this is a start."