County begins skate park site work

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By Carol A. Clark

Crews removing shrubs from in front of Mesa Public Library Thursday was unexpected for some following County Council’s agreement Tuesday to consider a petition asking to let voters decide in November if that location is appropriate for a skate park.

The petitioners suggested voters be asked if the county should build a $500,000 skate board park in front of Mesa Public Library – yes or no, and said they would accept the majority’s decision.

Mike Wismer presented the request to council on behalf of the petitioners Tuesday evening.

“My goal was to offer an alternative for the county because this location has become so divisive and the alternative would allow the voters at large to voice their opinion,” said Wismer during an interview Thursday afternoon. “I had hoped that since council had agreed to put the question on an upcoming agenda that they would have held off starting site work until after that meeting. Starting work (Thursday) morning seems disingenuous.”

Council Chairman Jim Hall said Thursday that based on his understanding that there won’t be much expense in the next couple of weeks, he gave County Administrator Max Baker the OK to begin site preparation.

“This has been put off a long time already and if we’re going to have any hope of getting it in by winter, we’ve got to get going,” Hall said. “My view is there’s not much likelihood that council will overturn their decision. That’s just my personal view, not the council’s, and I’ve been wrong before – I’ve read the tea leaves wrong before but I don’t see the decision changing.”

County Public Information Officer Julie Habiger confirmed Thursday that the county council will discuss the petition question at its Aug. 19 meeting.

Habiger explained that site preparation work has begun because the decision to stay was lifted when council denied the appeal July 29.

“There were the five required registered voters’ signatures on the petition so by law it had to be placed on the agenda,” she said, adding that agreeing to place the petition on the agenda had nothing to do with the decision to move forward with the project.

That decision was resolved July 29 when the appeal was denied.

If it had all worked out the way he hoped, Wismer said he would have liked to see the county, “turn loose the talents of Dick McIntyre (parks division manager) and let him create a high-desert landscape motif in front of the library to make that area more appealing and build the skate park in another location.”

Wismer expressed disappointment with the county’s decision to move forward with site work at the library.

“It really saddens me and I wish there were a better resolution because so many people are unhappy with the library location,” he said. “But it looks like at this point the council has already made its decision.”