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Skate planners prepare for P & Z

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By Kelly LeVan

Skaters and non-skaters alike are looking forward to actual construction to begin on the long-awaited Los Alamos Skate Park. But there are few more steps county staff need to go through first.While the county council has approved the location in front of Mesa Public Library, the park has yet to go in front of the Planning and Zoning Commission (P and Z). The skate park needs P and Z’s approval to move forward.The Interdepartmental Review Committee met recently to tie up a few details to make sure that approval happens. Concerns about skateboarders incorporating the sidewalk on Central Avenue into the park have been addressed. The Parks Department will redo the walks with a rougher surface, said Nancy Cerutti of the Community Development Department in an interview after the meeting. The walks will still meet ADA standards.Issues like drainage and lighting have been settled as well. The park will use existing drainage structures, and the excess drainage will water surrounding landscaping, Cerutti said. The park will be well lit while it is open, and will remain dimly lit when closed.Parks Division Manager Dick McIntyre; Stephani Johnson, director of the Community Services Department; and representatives from the library and the police department will work out what, exactly, those hours will be in time for a presentation to the county council Tuesday. Also still to be decided is whether the park will require new restroom facilities, in addition to those already in place in the library and at nearby Fuller Lodge. While the park budget doesn’t include money for restrooms, Cerutti said transit funds could potentially be used, as the park will be adjacent to a bus stop.Going forward, the county will also look at noise studies to be conducted at similar skate parks in Albuquerque. Because the Los Alamos Skate Park will be entirely constructed on concrete, Cerutti said she doesn’t expect to have the same noise problems parks with wooden structures have.Cerutti and McIntyre both said they felt confident vandalism – another big concern voiced at the recent public meeting – would not be a problem, believing skaters will feel ownership of the park and self-police it. The proximity of the Los Alamos Police Department, located across the street, should encourage appropriate use of the park as well.Council is scheduled to look at the 60-percent design plans at its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers in the Los Alamos Community Building. Whether or not the plans are ready by that date, McIntyre expressed optimism about the upcoming P and Z meeting, scheduled for 5:30 p.m. April 23 in the Los Alamos Community Building. “We feel we have sufficient date to move forward,” he said. “I think we’ve met all the criteria.” He expressed even more enthusiasm for the park itself – and the residents that will be using it.“We’re going to make sure we have a park that works,” he said. “I believe it will be an asset to that part of town … I think this is a good group of kids.”