Sylva contemplates buying temporary half-pipe
Community support is emerging for a skatepark in Sylva. In the meantime, will the town purchase a temporary half-pipe? This is the latest idea from Sylva Commissioners to be considered for inclusion in the FY 2022-23 budget.
A grassroots organization of Jackson County residents, the Sylva Skatepark Project, has been advocating for the construction of a skatepark in the county for the last several months. Both the town of Sylva and the county commission have been receptive to the group’s endeavors, but it is unclear which entity would foot the bill for the future park.
With Sylva approaching the end of its budget process for the upcoming fiscal year, there are talks of purchasing a temporary half-pipe until the skatepark construction can be finalized. At a May 5 budget workshop commissioner Greg McPherson brought up the idea of adding a line item to the budget for the purchase of a half-pipe.
“I’ve got a 16-by-8-foot ramp, $7,000, and I think it takes a day to put it together,” said McPherson.
McPherson said the ramp he had looked at cost around $7,500 and prices ranged up to $10,000. The structures come in parts that can be put together and taken back apart again to move.
Commissioners discussed several potential locations for the halfpipe, including Bridge Park, the area behind Sylva’s pool and the Frontier lot. Both Public Works Director Jake Scott and Sylva Police Chief Chris Hatton quickly vetoed the idea of putting a half pipe behind the pool, reminding commissioners that the location is already rife with delinquent activity.
“We spend a lot of time at Poteet and Bridge Park, dealing with some pretty serious issues from school kids,” said Hatton. “For Jake and I, you’re asking for a lot of trouble.”
Mayor Linda Sossamon suggested asking the county if the skate ramp could be placed at Mark Watson Park, noting that the park is flat, and has lighting and bathrooms.
“I think [a temporary ramp] is a good idea since we don’t know how long it’s going to take for the other to get finalized,” said Sossamon.
“I just don’t want our town’s toddlers to learn new words,” said Hatton.
Town Manager Paige Dowling asked commissioners to send her a cost estimate and said that she would then speak to Jackson County Recreation Director Rusty Ellis. Dowling said it would be her recommendation to use American Rescue Funds to purchase the ramp since one of the acceptable uses for that money is parks and recreation.
“This is a short-term fix while we have the longer discussion,” said Commissioner David Nestler.
All commissioners expressed that they were on board with purchasing the temporary halfpipe. The board will continue its budget discussion with the formal presentation of the FY 2022-23 budget at its May 12 meeting, held at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall. The Sylva Skatepark Project meets at 6 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of the month at Bridge Park.