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Skate Park location disputed

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By Katy Korkos

Tuesday, council will consider a petition with 324 signatures of residents opposed to plans to build a skate park in the Mesa Public Library.The petition was initiated by Colleen and Jack Hanlon, who live near the library, and who have devoted more than 100 hours to gathering signatures, drawing out detailed alternatives for preferred locations for the park and lobbying councilors. Jack Hanlon, a retired engineer, has prepared supporting materials to demonstrate the comparative suitability of a location near the community building. His drawings show that a 10,000 square foot skate park could fit in an area to the south of the Community Building, between the building and the parking area along Trinity Drive, without affecting parking for the building.Colleen Hanlon said that she supports having a skateboard park in Los Alamos, but that the location in front of the library is not suitable because of its negative impacts on noise for nearby residents, on pedestrian traffic and on already established activities around the library.“There are already successful activities there,” she said. “The Tot Lot, the Farmers’ Market are already well-established. We talked to hundreds of people, and I can count on two hands the number of people who said ‘I’m all for it’ in front of the library.”She added that if the park were placed south of the Community Building, “there are no residents nearby, the lights could be on later, skaters would have a beautiful view of the pond and skaters would be in the downtown location they prefer.”The council approved the location in front of the library June 26 and reaffirmed their support for the location on Oct. 30.Council will also consider a consultant for a design-build of the skate park. Parks Division Manager Dick McIntyre said that he would not be bringing a design or specifics to the council meeting on Tuesday, but rather conceptual drawings from the recommended consultant, chosen from among six responses to the request for qualifications. A committee comprised of county staff selected a company called California Skateparks Inc. as the most qualified to carry out a contract if approved by council.Community Services Director Stephani Johnson will be presenting the proposal on Tuesday along with McIntyre.“It’s an idea; it shows their (the consultants) understanding of the project,” McIntyre said. “What they’re showing is a good starting point.”He said that the schedule for the design process shows two public meetings in addition to two council presentations, to allow the public the opportunity to comment on the design as it develops.“What we’re asking council to do is to accept the proposal; we still have to go through the design process.”The council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, and the business agenda can be expected to appear some time after 7:30. The meeting will be televised on PAC-8 and streamed via the Internet.Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting are a request for proposals for the Los Alamos downtown redevelopment project, a request for approval of project management services to obtain more design and cost information for upgrading West Road, and approval of the 2008 county council calendar.