Auburn Skatepark Plans Revealed

Article by Dave Kurtz | KPC News | May 9, 2019

AUBURN — Mayor Norm Yoder introduced his plan for a skate park and his youthful expert advisers at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Auburn Common Council.

Yoder showed a preliminary drawing of a skating layout on the site of the city’s former swimming pool, which closed last year.

Detailed plans for the skate park are expected in a few weeks from Hunger Skateparks of Bloomington.

“Their parks are better because they flow. … They know how to make it perfect,” Timothy O’Keefe, 12, told the council members, endorsing Hunger Skateparks.

O’Keefe and Royce Linstromberg, 13, have been helping Yoder plan the skatepark. Their research included visits to parks in Peru and New Castle.

“I had a lot of fun at both. They’re both very well-designed,” O’Keefe reported.

Providing a skatepark would reduce damage caused by skating on private property, Yoder and the boys told the council.

“If we have a skatepark, it won’t happen any more, because we’ll all go to the skatepark,” said O’Keefe, the more vocal of the two boys. At Yoder’s prompting, O’Keefe admitted he had skated on the James Cultural Plaza in downtown Auburn.

In designing a skatepark, “We tried to seek out the best quality we could find to get something that the kids want to use,” Yoder said.

The early design for Auburn’s skate park includes a “peanut bowl” for tricks, in an area 3-4 feet deep at the former deep end of the pool.

The new park will have features that can be used by skateboards, roller blades, BMX bicycles and scooters, with sections for beginners as well as experts.

Peru’s park attracts skaters from 50-100 miles away, Yoder reported. Building Auburn’s skatepark on the former pool site will save about $150,000 compared to removing the pool, Yoder said. Concrete from the former pool’s deck will be crushed into to fill material and used in building the skatepark.

The mayor said he hopes to complete the park this year — the final year of his two decades as mayor.

Yoder said a preliminary figure estimates the cost of the skate park at $350,000, but he believes that is “a little on the high side.”

The mayor plans to open a fund with the Community Foundation DeKalb County to accept donations toward the skatepark.

The skatepark would not have full-time supervision, but “Eckhart Park gets a lot of traffic, and it is very visible,” Yoder said.

In response to a question about liability, Yoder said Indiana law establishes that people skate at their own risk if the park is in good repair.

Maintenance costs for the skatepark should be low, because it will be made entirely of concrete, Yoder added.

“This thing will last for many, many years,” O’Keefe said. 

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Sarina Harig