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Plans for a skate park in Big Rapids are moving forward. The Skate Park Committee met with City Manager Mark Gifford and Parks and Recreation Director Heather Bowman on Tuesday. Gifford says he's optimistic about the project.


I think we have a great group here interested in making a skate park happen. I really feel that this is our opportunity to make it a reality in the community,” he says.


It was the group's second meeting and preliminary plans call for a two pronged approach with the first phase installing a “street skateboarding” portion with obstacles such as rails, park benches, and ditches. The second phase will install a bowl type structure for “vert” or “transition” skateboarding. It was also agreed that Hemlock Park would be the best location.


The committee has voiced the idea that it's important for families to be able to all use it together. So, if one person's at the skate park, maybe a younger sibling could be at the playscape and the parents could be walking on the path. We're building on other amenities that are already in place – Hemlock Park's the best spot to do that,” says Gifford.


Gifford adds that it's important to get a company with experience in designing skate parks on board. He says Parks and Recreation Director Heather Bowman has been in contact with a number of companies in preparation for the next step.


We're going to look to hire somebody to do a design for us. Although preliminary, it's something that we can draw from to get estimated costs and to use as a tool for raising money throughout the community, writing grants, those kinds of things.


The committee is still looking for input on the project and is encouraging residents to attend the next meeting on April 11 at City Hall.



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