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With Riverside skatepark moving, local skaters’ eyes set on larger destination park
An open house announcing the plans for the park drew about 75 people
CEDAR RAPIDS — Some local skateboarders are optimistic after reviewing renderings showing Cedar Rapids’ plans to relocate the skatepark at Riverside Park, the city’s first municipal skatepark, to make way for flood control construction.
As plans for a larger “destination” skatepark in the Time Check area remain years away from coming to fruition, some members of the local skate community said they were pleased with plans revealed at an open house this week for a relocated and reconfigured skatepark at Riverside Park off C Street SW. About 75 people attended the open house.
The Riverside skatepark and playground are being moved closer to C Street SW as part of the Czech Village 12th Avenue SW (Riverside Park) detention basin project, which includes the first phase of a $20 million detention basin, pump station and flood wall project adjacent to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library.
“The skatepark community has been neglected for a long time,” said Travis McInroy, 33. “It’s good to see (the city) actually put something in motion to make a positive change, and it seems like they’re willing to work with the skaters in the skateboard community to come to a consensus on what everybody’s really happy with.”
The skatepark, built in the 1990s, is slated to be closed after Labor Day through Memorial Day 2023.
To comply with funding requirements, relocated Riverside skatepark elements will be a like-for-like replacement with concrete instead of steel parts, in line with current skatepark standards.
California-based Spohn Ranch, a global skatepark designer, is drafting the orientation of the Riverside skatepark’s features. Renderings showed 27 obstacles included on the park.
Nate Sherwood, owner of the Eduskate Board Shop on 12th Avenue SE, said Spohn Ranch is a great company, but “less is more.” He felt the renderings showed too many obstacles, but not enough for beginning skaters.
With the new park being designed entirely with concrete, he said people will likely skate at higher speeds, which could create more bottlenecks at the park.
Parks and Recreation Director Hashim Taylor said he anticipates the city will be able to relay feedback from Wednesday’s open house to Spohn Ranch in the next three or so weeks to incorporate the input into the final design.
“We’re happy that everyone came to provide their feedback and we value their buy-in and their feedback and want them to be part of the design of their relocated neighborhood skatepark,” Taylor said.
Rob Davis, city flood control program manager, said this project is funded through Iowa Flood Mitigation funds. The skatepark is estimated to cost about $1 million but will be bid later this year, he added.
The state funding deal allows Cedar Rapids to keep 70 percent of the increase in state sales tax generated within the city, up to $15 million, for use within that budget year toward work on the $750 million permanent flood control system.
Those dollars are “use it or lose it,” Davis said, so it was not an option to put funds for the skatepark relocation toward the larger skatepark.
Taylor said the destination skatepark will be part of the city’s planning for the greenway along the Cedar River starting in the fall. He said the timeline for its construction would depend on funding and other factors, so it could take five years — likely even longer — for that to come to life.
But once complete, it would give Cedar Rapids two skateparks. If the Riverside skatepark was not replaced, Cedar Rapids would have been without a skatepark for several years, likely the better part of a decade.
Sherwood said the larger park is a “far-off” thing to speculate on much, but he hopes it is well-planned.
“I think it’ll be great having two skateparks in Cedar Rapids,” Sherwood said. “A city of this size should have two parks.”
How to get involved
- On the city’s website, cedar-rapids.org, subscribe to email bulletins about the Riverside Park project
- Watch for a city website page dedicated to flood control, skatepark and playground replacement projects, available July 2 through July 8 for feedback
- Email email@example.com with ideas
- Help with site projects such as artwork on the exterior of the restroom and tree planting
- Provide input in the greenway planning process when public outreach launches in the fall
Comments: (319) 398-8494; firstname.lastname@example.org