CRESTVIEW — Skaters here may soon get to ollie, tailslide and kickflip locally if the City Council accepts a donor’s offer of $120,000 worth of park equipment.
The “like-new” prefabricated skate park equipment, including ramps and lighting, was “put in place by a government agency that then didn’t want them,” Public Works Director Wayne Steele said.
Anthony Hemphill, whose family periodically donates equipment to regional municipalities, recently made the offer, and extended the original Feb. 2 deadline because of the storm, Steele said. City leaders, who would formally vote on the matter during a later public meeting, would have to approve stormwater management systems and electrical work for the proposed Twin Hills Park site and pay $55,000 to install the equipment.
The park would be access-controlled by swipe cards issued after users signed waivers or, in the case of minors, had them signed by their parents, Steele said.
CRA funding available
In January 2013, a skate park and dog park were proposed as Community Redevelopment Agency-funded improvements.
CRA money would be used for the city’s match toward the Hemphills’ donation if approved, Steele said.
Steele advised the council that changes in state statutes allow municipalities to classify skate parks as recreational facilities on par with sports fields and youth and adult athletic programs.
The Florida League of Cities includes skate parks under a municipality’s general insurance policy, Steele said.
“We’re getting $175,000 of equipment (with installation) for $55,000,” Councilman Tom Gordon said.
“I think it’s ridiculous if we let this go.” “I am very much in agreement to accept something like this if we have a guarantee the equipment is what he says it is,” Councilman Joe Blocker said.
“Be cautious, please, that a gift horse is not a Trojan horse in disguise,” city attorney Jerry Miller said. “Our systems are in place to protect cost and product.”
While City Clerk Betsy Roy said city purchasing guidelines require the project to be sent out for bid, Steele said his research found the city could never find skate park equipment for $55,000.
Steele said he would have to do more research into the condition of the equipment and the Hemphill family’s donations to other communities.
Steele said Hemphill would accept a consensus up until the equipment, which is currently in Georgia, is crated and ready to be transported.
"I hope we can work it out with the family and make it happen, because it would be so sad if we couldn't," Steele said. "We may have time to work out an answer for them."