Amid the ongoing discussions on what should be done — or, more correctly, what direction should be taken — with Yankton’s Westside Park, the future of Westside’s skate park has become an intriguing sidebar.
At a recent meeting exploring some of the potential possibilities for Westside, two of the options presented did not include the skate park, which is located in the northern end of the park. (Instead, where the skate park currently sits, one option showed an “adventure playground” and the other a lawn bowling court.) This was in line with a desire expressed by some members of the public that the park be designed as a more reflective and tranquil area rather than an active place.
So, what would happen to the skate park?
Here, too, the wording is important. What’s being discussed is not the fate of the skate park — for it will not be discontinued — but rather the next chapter for the skate park, and if there might be a better fit elsewhere.
If, in fact, the new Westside design has tranquility in mind, a new home for the skate park would be the best approach.
And the perfect home could be in Memorial Park.
This option was discussed in a story in Tuesday’s Press & Dakotan. Yankton Parks and Recreation Director Todd Larson mentioned that a possible new location for the skate park might be the south tennis court at Memorial Park. This facility has water and peeling issues, which can be a hindrance for tennis but would have little if any impact on skate boarding.
Also, it would be located across the street from Yankton Middle School, which is about the right age for beginning skateboarders.
That also means it would be located right down the block from the Boys & Girls Club, which has proven to be an increasingly popular gathering place for youth of all ages. The kids help make Memorial Park an “active” place, and the skate park would seemingly be a great fit there.
(Memorial Park will also be home for Yankton’s new aquatic center. The skate park would certainly add another active, fun component to that area.)
There may be some reticence about this move from some skate park supporters. In Tuesday’s story, Matt Evans, who helped build the skate park 20 years ago and is now working to upgrade the facility, even said he didn’t mind the idea of a Memorial Park move, but admitted he had a sentimental attachment to the current facility. That’s understandable, given the work that he and others have devoted to the facility. He’s also concerned about the cost of moving the current equipment to a new location.
The work of Evans and his group has paid off handsomely, even if the skate park winds up being moved. Their dream has become a popular piece of Yankton’s park system. That’s the most important thing of all: The concept is here to stay — wherever it “stays” at.
More feedback is needed and wanted. We’re anxious to see where this idea, as well as the entire Westside process, goes next.
To see options and offer input on the Westside Park project, go to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfeyPNw34IWKS9R5rNxjJVpM0bwOZ5AQZ2bXHNmWrWCTwAHfg/viewform?usp=sf_link