A Jackson parent’s effort to expand the skate park has moved one step closer to becoming a reality.
Heide McBride came before the Teton County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees at its Jan. 8 meeting to ask for approval to increase the footprint of the skate park, which sits on land the district leases from the state of Wyoming. That expansion would allow for improvements McBride believes would make the park safer and more accessible for beginning skateboarders.
McBride has enlisted the help of architect and skater Anna Butler and a skate park builder named Billy Weiss to create the plan. Trustees had few questions about the design itself and were more interested in the process of approval, fundraising and construction.
“Don’t we want them to come back with a final design and funding plan?” Trustee Janine Bay Teske asked. “We want to make sure if they start they have the funding to finish it.”
Since the state owns the land, Trustee Bill Scarlett was concerned the Wyoming Department of Education would need to sign off on the expansion. He said the board should wait until it talks with the state, but Assistant Superintendent of Operations Jeff Daugherty told the board the state simply needed to acknowledge the project, not approve it, because of the way the leasing process works.
Scarlett and Trustee Kate Mead were the only board members to vote against the expansion, so the motion passed by a 5-2 vote, with the stipulations that the board be able to review the final design and see evidence of funding. Mead said the district may need that land to build a new school should student populations continue to grow, and she worried that anyone who gave money to help build the bigger skate park might put up a fuss if it needed to be removed in the future.
“From the beginning of the skate park that was known to be a possibility,” McBride told the board.
With the approval, McBride will now take her designs to the Teton County/Jackson Parks and Recreation Department, which manages the skate park and adjacent ball fields through an agreement with the school district. Those plans include new trees, shade structures and progression elements for beginner and intermediate athletes.
With the project still in its infancy, McBride wasn’t ready to speculate on how much it would cost, though she said it would be funded through philanthropy. If things go as planned and Parks and Rec approves the design, she hopes the three-week to monthlong project would be completed this fall.
Though the skating community is small, McBride said she and her team appreciated the reception they had received so far.
“Having their support (TCRP and the School District) along with so many others from both in and outside of the skate community,” McBride wrote, “truly validates the value of our skatepark and the role it plays in our community.”