Janesville59.1°

Council takes second look at skatepark site

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
July 26, 2008
— The proposed skatepark site in Palmer Park is up for review.

City council President Amy Loasching put the item on Monday’s agenda, suggesting the council consider the batting cage site at 937 S. Jackson St.


The city did not own the Jackson Street site in 2005 when the Palmer Park decision was made.


The property used to be called Swingers, and Janesville Youth Baseball now operates the batting cages there on a one-year lease.


Loasching said at a recent listening session with residents that the site is in a target area and possibly could qualify for federal funds. Councilman Bill Truman noted that a bathroom and parking lot also are available.


At least two other council members contacted Loasching asking that that the council reconsider the Palmer Park site because of the possibility of grant money, Loasching said Friday.


The area also might be more centrally located than Palmer Park and closer to lower-income kids, they said.


The skatepark committee, though, continues to support the Palmer Park location, which is on the north side of Palmer Drive and about 600 feet west of the pet exercise area.


The skatepark committee is at the fair this week hoping to raise more money, said Roger Streich, chairman. The group has had difficulty raising money.


Fern Streich said the committee has about $22,000 in cash and pledges for the concrete pad.


Roger Streich hopes to raise $250,000 to $300,000, and any city support would be a “blessing,” he said Friday.


His committee prefers Palmer Park because it is on the bike trail and near other family oriented recreational facilities, parking and restrooms.


Neighbors in the Palmer Park area, though, oppose the Palmer Park site because they fear it would add to congestion.


The Palmer Park site was controversial when it was approved in 2005, and the council vote was 4-3.


The leisure services committee had recommended a site across from Lions Beach. A committee member later resigned in frustration after the council ignored the committee’s advice.


The committee had examined 23 sites, and one was the batting cage-site area, Mike Williams, leisure services director, said in a memo. The city did not then own the property.


The property is listed in city plans as a potential redevelopment site.


The city owns 1.6 acres on the east side of South Jackson Street between the river and the batting cages, Williams said.


The council vote to change the site at this point would require a super majority of five.



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