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Brian Kopec said he has been blown away with the response from area kids.
Palm Coast Saturday, Mar. 2, 2013 9 years ago

Parent works for skatepark upgrades

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by: Shanna Fortier Associate Editor

Brian Kopec sat at the skatepark at Wadsworth Park for months watching his 6-year-old son skate. Each night, he noted the disrepair the park has fallen into over the years.

“I could either be here and be frustrated, or take action to revitalize and rehabilitate the park,” he said.

Kopec chose to be a man of action and is now working with the Flagler County Parks and Recreation Department staff to complete a four-page list of repairs and improvements. The list encompasses everything from cleaning the water fountain (which Kopec did himself) and repairing concrete potholes (which the county completed) to long-term goals of expanding the park with additional ramps and adding a section dedicated to bikes. In one month, 25% of the list has been completed.

Officials from the county, which is in charge of the maintenance and upkeep of the park, have said they are aware of items that need to be replaced and repaired. In fact, staff from the Parks and Recreation Department met with a representative from Skate Wave last year to find a budget number. An estimate for the project to repair existing items, as well as replacing items that have been removed over the years, came in at about $200,000. A proposal was made to the County Commission to spread that over a two-year period — paying $100,000 each year.

During budget planning, the project wasn’t approved.

“(The park) is due for replacements, and we are trying to preserve what we’ve got out there, but it isn’t hazardous yet,” said Carl Laundrie, communications manager for the county.

Laundrie said that staff from the Parks and Recreation Department is putting together a new proposal to be presented in this year’s budget. But with many projects happening in the county, Laundrie said, there is a lot of competition.

According to Laundrie, since being built in 2002, the skatepark has only had one major addition of ramps, which occurred about five years ago.

One of the maintenance requests that Kopec is excited about will be taken care of this weekend: all of the ramps and ramp surfaces will be repainted. The paint will serve as a small facelift for the park and will cover the graffiti that has been on the ramps for several years now.

Scott Demers, of Integrity Pressure Cleaning Plus, voluntarily pressure washed the sidewalk and ramps last week in preparation of the painting.

“The damage that’s been done to the park, the graffiti and stuff like that, that’s 1% of society and, unfortunately, that impacts 99% of the others who really want to enjoy the park,” Kopec said.

By cleaning up the park, Kopec hopes to not only keep kids out of trouble, but also to bring kids back to Flagler County.

“It comes down to economic development,” he said. “They are leaving here and going to St. Johns County and paying their money to have a good time because this park has fallen in a state of disrepair and that’s sad. If the kids can’t skate here, they’re gonna go somewhere else.”

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