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Commission to study latest site for Janesville skate park

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Catherine W. Idzerda
April 3, 2010
— After five years and more committee meetings than anyone can count, picking a location for a Janesville city skatepark is once again heading toward a city council decision.

On Monday, the Janesville Planning Commission will consider the newest site recommendation from the Leisure Services Advisory Committee.


This time, the pick is Monterey Park, and not everybody is happy about the choice.


In 2005, a committee recommended a site across from Lions Beach, but the Council said it preferred a site in Palmer Park.


In the ensuing years, the best location for the park was tossed around until last fall, when the council asked leisure services committee to reconsider four sites:


-Monterey Park.


-Jackson Street near Dawson Field.


-Traxler Park.


-101 Rockport Road.


Roger Streich, the main fundraiser for the skatepark, has always preferred a Palmer Park location because it would allow the construction of a “bowl” for stakeboarders.


But the leisure services committee did not favor Palmer Park because of the number of attractions already there. Also, neighbors have expressed concerns about overcrowding.


In December, the city council promised to give the park $50,000 if Streich raises $250,000 by Dec. 31, 2010. At the time, Streich had raised about $26,000.


At the leisure services committee meeting in March, Tom Malone, city management analyst, said staff preferred the Monterey site because of its nearness to the bike trail and accessibility to public restrooms and because the site fits into the development plan for the area.


The site would provide entertainment choices for a wider demographic, too, he said.


“One piece of the supporting elements for Monterey was to provide a site with diverse opportunities for family activities,” said Tom Presny, city parks director. “Monterey Stadium is there, there’s a children’s playground and there’s fishing on the river.”


Wilson School staff acknowledged that the park’s location would provide a positive activity within walking distance for their students, but they also expressed concerns about gang activity, the amount of custodial time needed to pick up garbage and interference with sporting events and wildlife in the park.


The Gazette was not able to reach district public information specialist Sheryl Miller for a comment Friday.


Streich said isn’t crazy about the Monterey site, either, but he wants to see the project move forward.


“Like I’ve said before, ‘A park someplace is better than a park no place,’” he said.


He’s always believed the park had great potential—and wanted something that would stand out.


“The original intent was to have something comparable to what Beloit has,” Streich said.


Because of flooding concerns, Monterey Park wouldn’t accommodate a “bowl,” but only a slab with a variety of ramps, rails, stairs and mini-pipes.


Despite all the discussion, Streich feels decisions have been made “without a whole lot of (skatepark) committee input.”


He’ll have another chance Monday.


If you go
What: Janesville Plan Commission meeting
When: 6:30 p.m. Monday
Where: Council Chambers, City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St., Janesville.
On the agenda: Location of proposed skatepark

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