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Pocatello skate park rolls into center of controversy

POCATELLO, Idaho - With the Ross Park skate park drawing closer toward exceeding its life expectancy, the Pocatello City Parks and Recreation department has big plans drawn-up for what will happen to the facility after it is boarded-up.

The city's Parks and Recreation director Jerry Sepich explained how the skate park will not be completely lost. Instead, the city plans on moving it further south of the Pocatello Zoo.

"What we plan on doing is just moving the existing park down there, but in the long run and in the master plan, we will propose to build a concrete skate park that the kids will really enjoy," Sepich said.

However, this time, Sepich said they plan on building a bigger, better BMX facility made out of concrete instead of wooden boards the current skate park consists of, just north of the Ross Park pool.

Local business owner and skater Darin Black believes relocating this park will be more inconvenient for kids who have limited means of transportation to the skate park.

Now, he is lobbying Old Town Pocatello committee to turn the tract of land slated to become a new parking lot into a new world class skate park.

"So, I got on the design committee and let them know I have a better idea," Black said. "I'm proposing they build a skate park there along the railroad tracks in Old Town with historical buildings and not in some corner somewhere."

The cost of building this world class skate park would add-up to a $250,000 project, and finding funding for this would be difficult. However, Black said building a new park in Old Town would attract tourism in the area.

"There are skate parks...that are equivalent to a trip to Disneyland for these kids. There are people who travel to go to these parks. If we have one of those ,we bring people to our area."

Sepich agrees the city needs to keep this sort of facility in order to keep the skaters happy, and to keep kids from using the city as a skate park.

He said the city will hold a public meeting within the next three to four weeks in order to discuss master plan for the Ross Park conceptual plans.

So far, the city anticipates building a brand new amphitheater where the current skate park stands, and wants to expand the zoo into the old amphitheater location.

Follow Kaitlin on Twitter: @KaitlinLoukidesĀ 

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