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Monument Skate Park rescued at 11th hour



We got trouble, trouble, trouble. Right here at the foot of Pikes Peak, friends, we got trouble with a capital T, and that rhymes with P, and that stands for Skate Park.

Reversing their controversial 4-3 decision of two weeks ago, the Town of Monument Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to let construction of the Monument Skate Park continue, granting a 10-week stay of execution for the volunteers to finish the project they have spent three years bringing to fruition.

Monument Skate Park Committee Chairmen Robert Owens told the Indy the park was 80 percent completed when the town trustees voted to shut it down on September 5 and to "render it safe," threatening to tear it down the very next day. After coming up short of their Labor Day deadline to complete the planned Skate Park, Owens' committee rallied the town's citizens to make their voices heard and force their town government to work for them.

Close to 100 people crowded into the Town Hall meeting room Monday night, touting the nearly completed park as a positive recreation activity for local youth as well as a monument to the spirit of volunteerism. The park has been built entirely by volunteers using donated materials and equipment.

Aside from concerns about the volunteers' ability to complete the project in a timely manner, there was at least some opposition from residents living adjacent to the park who worried about excessive noise. And although Mayor Leon Tenney and the five trustees in attendance repeatedly expressed concern about the safety of the park, several citizens speculated that a desire to sell the land and take advantage of escalating property values could have driven the trustees' earlier vote to abort the project.

Tenney said he appreciated the community involvement during the tumultuous two weeks since the board's decision, but he chastised the crowd in attendance, pointing out that if they had put "one tenth of the energy they've put out in the last two weeks [fighting the shut down], they would have met their deadline."

"How can the town afford to not do it?" one elderly resident asked before the trustees voted. "How could they say 'no' to all these kids?"

Perhaps the unanimous vote of confidence will lead toward the same kind of community healing that took place in Salida last weekend. "If they approve it and build it," the elderly man said, "I might just get out there and try it myself."

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