Monterey tabbed as possible location for Janesville skatepark

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March 10, 2010
— The Janesville Leisure Services Committee on Tuesday recommended Monterey Park as a site for a proposed skatepark.

Palmer Park for years has been the proposed site for the skatepark, but the Janesville City Council recently asked the committee to take another look at locations.

The committee had narrowed the choice to four sites: 101 Rockport Road, Traxler Park, the 900 block of South Jackson Street near the batting cages and Monterey Park.

The Janesville Youth Baseball and Softball Association will move the Jackson Street batting cages and a baseball diamond at Monterey Park to the Youth Sports Complex, opening two possible sites that weren’t available before, said Tom Malone, management analyst.

This is the second time the leisure services committee will make a recommendation to the council on a skatepark site.

In 2005, the committee recommended a site across from Lions Beach, but the council opted for a site at Palmer Park. Roger Streich, who is leading the fundraising for the skatepark, preferred Palmer Park.

Afterward, the leisure services committee chairman quit in frustration, asking why he had wasted so much time working on recommendation for a location when the council didn’t take the committee’s advice.

Since then, Streich has raised about $26,000. He estimates he will need between $300,000 to $400,000 to build a skatepark.

Some council members questioned the Palmer Park site. Some members said they prefer a central-city location that might be eligible for grants.

The council recently asked the leisure services committee to look again at sites, possibly in the Fourth Ward.

Streich blames some of his fundraising difficulty on the council’s indecision on a site.

The council also deleted $50,000 initially included for the skatepark in the 2010 borrowing note. In a memo, City Manager Eric Levitt recommended that $50,000 be committed to the project if Streich can raise $250,000 by Dec. 31.

Streich was disappointed he wasn’t more involved in picking a site.

“Everything was pretty much cut and dried,” he said after the meeting. “We had very little input.”

Streich said he would have suggested a site across the bridge from Traxler Park near the former Westphal parking lot or a site at the former boys’ baseball field off Milton Avenue.

“We were supposed to have conversation and input into this,” he said. “They aren’t giving us any opportunity to say anything because I’ve not sat down and talked to anyone.”

Streich suggested the city ask a consultant from a skateboard equipment company for input, which he said would be free of charge.

Staff recommended the Monterey Park site because bathrooms already are available, Malone said. Bathrooms are available at the Jackson Street site near the batting cages, too, but they would have to be renovated, he said.

The leisure services committee did not favor Palmer Park because of the number of attractions already there, Malone said. The committee noted that most neighbors worry about overcrowding, he said.

The committee also did not favor the Rockport or Traxler Park sites because they have a greater potential for future development, Malone said. A skatepark in either Monterey Park or on Jackson Street fits the city’s master plan, he said.

The plan commission will discuss the recommendation April 5, Malone said. The council is expected to take up the skatepark April 12, he said.

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