Burnsville skate park project is starting to roll

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 10, 2012 - 5:58 PM

A remake of the park this year will rearrange obstacles on a new concrete surface, but additional donations are still needed.

The chain link fence is coming down and the pockmarked asphalt is going away.

Burnsville's city skate park is ready for its facelift.

The City Council approved the plans last week and construction will begin in September.

The remake will mostly focus on smoothing out the surface by changing it from asphalt to concrete. Existing obstacles will be rearranged and a couple of new ones will be added.

The tradeoff for the better skating surface is that the park will shrink from roughly 18,000 square feet to 4,354, with plans to add more space and equipment in the future.

"We got something done but we want to keep going," said Dean Muslo, the city's recreation facilities manager. "That's where we really need the skating community's help."

The timeline for further expansion of the park, which could include stairs and a curve with swooping concrete banks, will depend on the fundraising prowess of skate park supporters.

A committee has raised about $3,000 of a promised $6,500 for the improvements this year. The city will kick in up to $86,000.

The scope of the second phase will change based on how much money is available. Right now, Muslo said planners are aiming for a $100,000 to $150,000 project with the skating community raising about half of that.

Shawn Solem, owner of Zombie Board Shop in Burnsville and a member of the committee that has helped plan the park upgrades, said he has been mentioning that to his customers, friends and vendors.

"They seem like they're all about it," Solem said.

Even knowing the second phase may be farther in the future, he said he expects skaters to be pleased with the initial changes.

"The surface is going to be the biggest thing that everybody will be happy about," Solem said, noting that bumpy asphalt surface makes it hard to skate. "That's one thing that drives everyone nuts."

Other changes, including more landscaping and removal of the chain-link fence that surround the park, are meant to make it more welcoming.

"It kind of reminds you of a prison yard," Muslo said. "Let's present it as a park."

The skate park, near Nicollet Avenue and Civic Center Parkway, opened in the late 1990s as a "Tier II" park with more obstacles and an entrance fee for people who wanted to use it. When it didn't generate enough money, the city simplified the park and opened it to everyone. That made it a popular spot for beginners, especially younger skaters.

The city asked park users of all ages for advice as the improvement plans took shape.

About two dozen turned out at an earlier city meeting to offer their input on the revamped park's design.

Just one -- Solem -- attended the meeting where the plans and construction schedule were unveiled last week. But even if city meetings aren't on skaters' minds, the park project is.

"Kids are asking me about it all the time," Solem said. "They're all really excited to move it forward."

The skate park will close from Sept. 6 through completion of work in November.

Katie Humphrey • 952-746-3286

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