Skate park to get monitor

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By Jennifer Garcia

In the coming weeks, the skate park in front of Mesa Public Library will get a couple of new additions.

A fence will be put up around the park to separate the skaters from pedestrians and make it safer for pedestrians going in and out of the library.

In addition, a skate park monitor will be hired to help enforce the rules of the park.

“I met with Max (Baker, the county administrator), Chief (Wayne) Torpy and a couple of folks about six to eight weeks ago,” said Community Services Director Stephani Johnson. “They thought because of the concerns the public has expressed about pedestrian access, they’d put up fencing to separate the skate park from pedestrians,”

The Parks and Recreation Department is working with Craig Wehner of LA Landscapes and More in hopes of getting the fencing installed within the next couple of weeks.

Johnson estimated that the fencing will cost about $2,000 and will be paid for out of the parks budget.

 She said the fencing will be the same type that is currently in place near the library.

“It’s metal and it’s open. It’s not wood or one of those fences with slats in it,” Johnson commented.

The Parks and Recreation Department is also in the process of hiring a monitor for the skate park. The person chosen to fill this newly created position will be stationed at the skate park to monitor the children using the park and to enforce the rules of the park.

However, the job duties related to this position are not entirely clear and county staff is not completely convinced that this will be a successful attempt at enforcing the rules.

“Our expectations are that they’d enforce the rules of the skate park,” Johnson said. “We’re not sure what authority they’d have. We figure that they’d enforce the rules through a non-police position because the rules posted at the skate park are not in ordinance,” she continued. “One thing we’ll have to look at is whether we can keep someone long-term in this position.”

She also wanted to make clear that the Parks and Recreation Department does not want to put themselves in the position where they have an adversarial relationship with the kids that use the skate park, so finding the right person for the job is very important.

Johnson said that her department has received three applications from people who are qualified to fill the part-time position.  

Recruitment for the position ended on March 27 and Johnson, along with Parks and Recreation Division Manager Randy Smith, will review applications today in hopes that they can hire someone by May 1.

The position will require the person to work about 20 hours per week and will pay from $9.46 to $14.12 per hour, depending on experience.

“We don’t normally hire at the maximum,” Johnson said. “It’s usually somewhere between the minimum and the maximum depending on the person’s experience.”

Another project in the works for the skate park is the implementation of etiquette classes. Avid skaters Elliott Marcille and Gabe Priestly are working with Parks and Recreation staff in hopes of establishing etiquette classes for other skaters.

In addition, they would host exhibitions and competitions for the skaters. The classes will focus on learning how to ride and do simple tricks. The classes will focus on an educational component about taking turns at the park, entering and exiting the areas and simple do’s and don’ts while skating.

Ideally, the classes would be held on Sundays, though the frequency is not yet clear.

Additionally, staff is working with the youth to design skate park T-shirts to hand out as part of the programs and presentations.

The sessions will be free of charge.