Pierz council receives request to dedicate land for a skatepark

Pierz City Council members began their Nov. 27 meeting by hearing a request from five young men, led by Patty Stangl. The request was for city land to be dedicated for a skateboarding park, referred to as a “skatepark.”

Local skateboarding enthusiasts have been chased from one place to another in the city as they have attempted to find an area to practice their sport of choice and hone their skills.

Currently the 10-15 skateboarders practice near the Pierz Pioneer Elementary School after school and weekends.

Patty Stangl, having done a bit of research on the subject, informed the council that grants were available through the Tony Hawk Foundation, provided there was land dedicated for the project. Although the Foundation receives over 450 requests a year for the up to $25,000 grants, she felt it was worth the effort. Stangl noted the group could also look into fund-raising possibilities.

Pierz Police Chief Steve Boser concurred with the need for such a park, and is often the one telling the kids they cannot skate in one place or the other.

“I see these five guys around town and they live on skateboards,” acknowledged council member Daniel Sauer.

One concern expressed by council members dealt with liability to the city. Council member Kathy Kahlhamer asked about land being dedicated that could be used for nothing else even if the skatepark was not realized.

“As far as liability, I went on websites and got different ideas for waivers. Like five or six examples,” said Levi Chase, one of the young men, and a freshman at Pierz Healy High School.

Council member Mary Gritzmacher asked the students if they had a plan in mind. The students had gone with Stangl and Boser to check things out by the Pierz Park. A spot just 100 foot by 100 foot is needed for the skatepark. Boser added that equipment like a “half-pipe” for the skatepark was a request.

“We were originally thinking by the basketball court in the park, or up by the golf cart shed,” said Boser. Another possible site offered by council member Herb Broschofsky in the Pierz Park that would meet the minimum space needs was just south of the shelter. “There’s a lot of area by the park that could be utilized,” agreed Mayor Mike Menden.

“Maybe one thing we could do tonight is set up two council members for a committee,” said Menden. He extended the invitation to be contacts for the group to Toby Egan and Stephanie Fyten, who will take office in January.

In a phone conversation with the Record, Boser said, “These kids don’t play football or basketball and that’s why I’m supporting them as much as I am. That’s why I helped present it to the council. I’m the one telling these kids that they can’t skate here and they can’t skate there. I don’t have any problems with these kids, they’re very respectful when I ask them to leave.”

“I sat down with them and told these kids, ‘You’ve got to help. I don’t know anything about skateboarding and I have no interest in it.’ When I asked them to help me and show me a park and what they need, they showed me a layout they had drawn out themselves,” said Boser.

He concluded, “I feel bad telling them to move on–but where are they supposed to move on to?”

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