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Committee discusses skate park, FOI plan

Adding two new parks to Ironton was the topic of discussion for the city council’s parks and recreation committee on Tuesday night.

Councilmen discussed adding a skate park and the Friends of Ironton talked about leasing property near Moulton Field to use for its events.

Both ideas are in the preliminary stages of discussion.

Architect Shawn Walker was at the meeting to explain how a park would be built.

The park would be mainly concrete and have ramps built of steel. He said the price of the park depends on the amount of concrete and other materials used.

“The price depends on how complex it is,” he said. “It could be anywhere from $5,000 to $80,000. It just depends on what you want.”

Walker also said he needed to know how much the council was thinking about spending before he could do any design work. The council said $15,000 was a reasonable starting point for a quarter-acre park.

“We need to have something that is worthwhile and will be used,” Walker said. “Anything smaller than that and it will be money thrown away.”

Mayor John Elam asked Walker what the cost of a project like a basketball or tennis court would be. Walker replied that those types of projects would cost around $5,000.

Rich Blankenship, who is spearheading the effort, said he has talked with skaters around town and that he is working with them on the design of the skate park. He is applying to professional skater Tony Hawk’s foundation to get a grant, but one of the things they look at is support of the kids in the community for fundraising and support.

“We have to get the kids involved,” he said. “So I think we should expand our efforts beyond Ironton. We need to expand out into the county.”

A large part of the discussion is on the location of the park. Moulton Field was discussed, as were other parcels of city-owned land.

The other park under discussion was the Friends of Ironton Veterans Park project, which the group would like to put on land near Moulton Field and the Ironton Hills Shopping Center where the city is currently using for a composting site. FOI would like to use the 11-acre site for community events.

“As events continue to grow, we are expanding and we want to grow events like Octoberfest and Rally on the River,” said Jodi Rowe-Collins, FOI treasurer. “It’s an ideal location and it would clean up an eyesore.”

She said FOI events will still be focused around the downtown area, with new businesses coming into town, there are complaints about blocking off streets from merchants. She said events like the Gus Macker basketball tournament would still be held downtown.

“We need a bigger place that won’t hold up traffic,” Rowe-Collins said.

The councilmen wanted to know how the property would be utilized as well as how it would be maintained.

Rowe-Collins said nothing was finalized yet, that the Friends of Ironton wanted to see if there was a possibility of getting the land before it invested time and money into the project.

The councilmen seemed supportive of the idea but wanted more specifics.