MILLEDGEVILLE — Alliance for Milledgeville Progressive Sports spokesperson Ben Joiner has fought for area skate boarders since 1998.
Milledgeville currently has no space for skaters to congregate, after the high-liability skating area next to the Golden Pantry off Hancock Street closed in 2005.
In Milledgeville City Council’s May 28 work session, packed with skating supporters, Joiner presented the idea to build a small-scale skate spot on the unused concrete slab at Central City Park. This usable 20 by 120 foot portion near the corner of West Franklin and North Tattnall streets serves as an ideal, centralized location.
Mayor Richard Bentley and Council gave the skate spot idea a vote of confidence in May encouraging Joiner to share technical research with City Public Works Director Frank Baugh to move the project forward.
After meeting with Baugh, Joiner received blessing to conduct preliminary work at the slab such as clearing dirt, weeds and removing old barn posts.
He completed the work by August and returned to Public Works.
Joiner has skilled labor lined up to build the park. He’s waiting on the city’s OK.
“There are a billion people asking me where this is at. Supposedly, we are going to be getting on it soon. It’s not that big of a project, but (Baugh) has to check with (City Manager Barry Jarrett) before moving forward,” Joiner said. “I didn’t think it was going to get done any faster than now.”
Baugh is obligated to get back to the city manager with a recommendation.
“I know Ben has been patient. I want to give him my undivided attention to sit down and frame something that I could present to Mr. Jarrett and the Council for their approval,” Baugh said. “I’d like to take the plan to Council just so they know what we are planning to do out there.”
The skate spot’s technical plans, created by Joiner, include a flat bar, a ledge, also known as a grind box, and a three and a half foot quaterpipe up the park’s natural embankment. The quarterpipe would be 20 foot wide to match the existing slab.
Baugh said there are some bad concrete slab portions totaling 20 feet of the total surface area that require cutting and removal.
A 3,000 square foot skate spot serves five to eight users at a time. The phase development is so small and simple that Joiner estimated a $5,000 cost, mostly for the pipe, on the high end.
“I threw $5,000 on there to be safe. The real distinction is who is going to pay for the labor,” the skate advocate said. “That shouldn’t be a problem.”
The Alliance will fund the project, removing any city cost.
Liability isn’t a concern, according to city attorney Jimmy Jordan. The city must be involved in the entire process making sure the final product rises up to code.
The skate spot would belong to the city.
“Ben has done a lot of good volunteer work. It’s something I’m committed to getting back to soon,” Baugh said.
The skate park project could tie into a larger plan.
The Public Works director continues exploring hiring a master-planning consultant to look at a skate spot in the context of other amenities the city might consider in all parks including Central City.
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