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I am writing in opposition to building a skateboard park on the grounds of the Mesa Public Library. I was the library director when we did the planning and programming for the library building. County Council selected that site for the library because it fit in so nicely with the planned historic and cultural environment of the area. I feel a skateboard park on those premises is simply not appropriate to that environment.
The Downtown Master Plan clearly reserves the area across Central Avenue, north of Ashley Pond, as a “historical and cultural district.” The library is an integral component of that cultural district. The planning principles for that district should be respected as adopted. A skate board park hardly fits in as cultural or historic. The DMP also states that all construction in the area should convey the perception of “green, vital, comfortable and safe.” A skate board park would not be consonant, in any way, with that perception.
Why are we rejecting the planning principles that we have adopted? Skateboarders certainly have a right to their enjoyment, and there is no reason to discourage them. On the other hand, we should respect the integrity of the area that has been designed for cultural and historical purposes. At the risk of sounding quaint and crotchety, skateboarding does not fit in with that design. There are other areas available for their activities.
Beyond that, it is difficult to understand why County Council and the Planning & Zoning Commission are going to such extents and such expense to appeal to so few people. The best available estimates are that there are less than 60 active skate boarders in town. Couldn’t that money ($500,000 or more) be better spent for cultural or recreational activities that would appeal to more of our citizens? It is hard to understand the urge to satisfy such a narrow segment of our population.
There will be a hearing on this project at the Council meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers in the Community Building. This is a hearing on an appeal, so there will not be public input by anyone except those with standing. Even so, all of those who oppose this project would do well to make an appearance.