Eagle-Vail skatepark nearly ready to ride | VailDaily.com

Eagle-Vail skatepark nearly ready to ride

Matt Zalaznick

Skaters young and old have long complained about the distances they have to travel to find a skatepark. But Eagle-Vail neighborhood, pushed by more than 40 parents, has sacrificed two of its tennis courts to build a park with ramps and rails that should be open to skateboarders by the end of the month.

“Everybody seems very positive and very excited,” said Donna Albani, a parent of skateboarders who spearheaded efforts to get the park built. “It was built with the integrity that will protect children from getting hurt.”

The park, which is nearly finished, is going up on the northernmost pair of the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District’s eight tennis courts, near the neighborhood’s pavilion.

The two north courts were chosen because a separate entry could be built. That means skateboarders and tennis players won’t have to cross each other’s paths on their ways to their respective playgrounds.

“It’s just one more opportunity to provide things for our kids to keep them in the neighborhood instead of wandering the countryside,” said Walter Allen, a member of the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District.

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To reduce the potential for creating a disturbance, the entire complex will be closed at nightfall.

And to shield skateboarders from the sometimes grating noises of bouncing tennis balls, a wall will be built to separate the courts from the skateparks.

On the other hand, peaceful tennis games shouldn’t be interrupted because the skatepark won’t have a sound system and skaters won’t be allowed to bring in stereos.

“Initially when we open up, we’re going to monitor it very closely,” said J. Halburnt, who was elected to the metro district’s board of directors earlier this month. “If we find any glitches or problems we’ll work those out.”

The skatepark ultimately will be an asset to the neighborhood, Halburnt said.

“I think it’s very exciting that we’re going to have a brand new skateboard park,” Halburnt said. “I see many kids in the valley riding around and this will be a nice half-pipe right in their backyards.”

Albani said the park also will be a more comfortable place for Eagle-Vail’s younger skateboarders to ride.

“It’s a sport the little kids are all wanting to do and a lot of parents object to taking the kids to Vail because they feel the older kids don’t give the little ones opportunity to ride,” she said. “Parents have to sit and watch and they don’t feel safe to leave.”

Parents will feel a lot more comfortable with the kids riding in the neighborhood, she said.

“Parents can be playing tennis or over at the pool and they’ll be close by and feel more comfortable about leaving kids at the skatepark,” she said.

A screen that was used to shield the two north courts from Interstate 70 will be removed so Eagle County sheriff’s deputies on patrol in the neighborhood can keep an eye on the park.

Allen said the Eagle-Vail skatepark will lure skaters from other parts of the valley, too –and that’s a good thing.

“The tennis courts are underutilized,” he said. “And the skatepark is something valley-wide kids will be able to utilize. I’m real strong on trying to unify the entire valley on recreation for kids.”

Work has also begun on another parent-driven improvement. A foundation has been to laid for a shelter that should keep swimmers out of the weather at the Eagle-Vail swimming pool.

“We tend to get really focused on the golf operations, and there’s way more going on than that,” Allen said. “It’s all pretty exciting, actually.”

Matt Zalaznick covers public safety, Eagle County Courts and Avon/ Beaver Creek. He can be reached at (970) 949-0555 ext. 606 or via e-mail at mzalaznick@vaildaily.com.

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