|City council rolling forward with plans for skate park|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Feb. 2, 2005 -- Plans for a skate park have been added to the city's master plan for parks and open space following unanimous action by the Sulphur Springs City Council Tuesday evening. The addition will enable the city to seek grant money to help in the construction of the facility.
Skateboarders filled the council room in a show of support for the project and said the park would give them a place to practice their sport without causing friction with property owners.
Mitchell Cardova, 18, spokesman for the group, said skateboarders are not out to cause problems, but many are considered troublemakers.
"If you are carrying a [skate] board in your hand, people see us as troublemakers, like going around tearing up people's property, and that is not true with all of us," he said. "A skate park, in reality, would give us a place to go and not be tearing up anyone's property -- we would be there having fun. It would be designated for us."
Cardova said the skateboarders regularly travel to Paris, Tyler and the Dallas area to skate parks and spend on the average of $80 per person on the trips. That money, he told the council, could be spent in Sulphur Springs.
"We pay quite a bit of money to skate, and we have to eat," he said. "It would be beneficial to us to spend our own money in our own town in our own park."
He also said people from other towns would come to Sulphur Springs to skate and "spend money in our town."
"That is good publicity for Sulphur Springs," Cardova said. "It would be just one of the other amenities that Sulphur Springs could offer for people from out of town."
The spokesman said that there were very few opportunities for teens other than go to the movies and "hang out with our friends."
He also said the potential site of a skate park being constructed on the old tennis courts at Buford Park would lend itself to family involvement because of the proximity of Kids Kingdom and other park facilities.
"We are also willing to help build the park, like Kids Kingdom, like they helped build that park," he said.
Following Cardova's presentation, council members voted unanimously to write the skateboard concept into the park master plan.
In other action, council members approved a refunding of three bond issues.
The refunding or renewing some of the city's bonded indebtedness would, according to Finance Director Peter Karstens, take advantage of interest rates and save the city approximately $800,000.
Dan Allmon of Southwest Securities in Dallas, who serves as bond consultant for the city, said the action was a straightforward move to reduce the city's debt through reduced interest rates and save the money.
Allmon credited Karstens' diligence for enabling the city to take advantage of the opportunity to save taxpayer money.
Unanimous approval was given to resolutions that would suspend a proposed rate increase by Atmos Energy Corporation and join with a coalition of cities opposing the increase.
The city is expected to join with a coalition of other municipalities in opposing the increase.
City Manager Marc Maxwell said the coalition would be better able to oppose any rate increase when it is presented to the Texas Railroad Commission.
Council members also gave approval to an agreement with the Sulphur Springs Boys and Girls Club regarding the club's use of the H.W. Grays Building in Pacific Park.
The club is opening a branch at the building and will offer activities several days during the week and had asked the city for permission to place a sign on or near the building identifying the association with the club.
In approving the request, the council said that something could be worked out to allow the placement of the sign, which is a requirement of Boys and Girls Club.
The council did specify the Grays Building was of historical significance and that nothing could be attached to the building or its sign.
In other business, after some discussion with a property owner, the council ordered that property at 215 Fuller St. be abated within 120 days.
The motion for abatement by Lydia Bryant specified that the lot be cleared and up to city requirements in 120 days. If it was not cleared "on day 121," the city would clear the property.
Abatement orders were also approved on substandard property located at 220 Middle St. and 117 Gaines St.