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Skate park group asks for school for property

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

McCOOK, Nebraska -- Skateboard enthusiasts young and old alike requested a portion of school land to be donated for a skate park.

Adults and students attended Monday night's regular McCook School Board meeting and two students, Christian Nelson and Brigham Larington, told the board that 1,000 signatures have been collected in support of a skate park. They asked the board if 50,000 square feet of property, owned by the McCook School District west of the YMCA, could be donated as it is easily accessible, visible and also offered room for expansion.

Rex Nelson, McCook Economic Development Corp. director, said they have looked at other areas and this property seemed to be the best location. The group's plan is to ask the City of McCook to maintain the location, via the Parks Department.

Fundraising would be part of the process, he added, with maybe some funds coming from the McCook Community Foundation if it is a non-profit organization.

"It will be a broad-based funding project," Nelson acknowledged.

Previously, there had been some movement to get a skate park in McCook, with equipment installed at the old tennis courts in Kelley Park, he said. Around that time, a city in Nebraska was sued because of a skate board accident and other cities went into "panic mode," with many cities, including McCook, putting the brakes on creating skate parks. The lawsuit has since been resolved at the Supreme Court level.

As it was not an action item, the School Board did not take any action on the item.

On Tuesday, McCook Schools Superintendent Grant Norgaard said he didn't want to speak for the board, but the request may be taken up in the Facilities Committee in the future.

In other action, the board the unanimously approved:

* requiring one semester (five credits) of speech for the graduating class of 2017. Total graduation credits needed for graduation would remain at 230.

* to seek bids for the construction of a metal building at the new McCook Learning Center south of the high school (formerly the National Guard Armory). This would be a four or five bay building to house the over-the-road buses and be funded by the sale of school property on U.S. Highway 83 and the former bus barn property on West Q.

This bus barn will be built into an existing hill. Plans are underway for a 20-foot long steel building connected to the Armory that will house the yellow school buses.

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The youth co-president is Christian Olsen (not Nelson). All were there representing the organization "Build McCook a Skatepark", I wasn't there as MEDC Director, but as a citizen who cares about kids. The statement wasn't that funds would be "coming from McCook Community Foundation" (although that would be nice) but rather that an affiliate account would be established to hold donations. I didn't say that there was a skateboard accident, it wasn't. The lawsuit would have impacted all municipal facilities.

--Rex Nelson

-- Posted by Developer Guy on Thu, Nov 15, 2012, at 11:11 AM

The city has enough property that a donation of property to an issue as a skate park would be a great move. All they have to do is sign a waiver releasing them from any injuries that would happen to anyone using the skate park as a skater. What harm would this do?? Or does the city want money again for something??

The city council needs to get their heads out of the money bag and see reality for once.

-- Posted by edbru on Fri, Nov 16, 2012, at 12:10 PM

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