Capital Funds Drained - Skateboarders First to be Impacted

Capital Funds Drained - Skateboarders First to be Impacted

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The first casualty of the city’s budget woes could be a skateboard park, at least temporarily.

Skateboarders were hoping today would be the day that final approval would be given to a $450,00 skate park at Public Safety Park in midtown. The project has been in the planning stages for two years. Drawings were done and funding was apparently secured. But Mayor Sandy Stimpson today recommended, and the city council approved, putting the project on hold, at least for several months, while the city gets a better grasp on its financial situation.

Stimpson says the previous administration virtually drained the capital budget to pay every day costs. The F2014 City Budget diverts $17 million in capital funds for operations, according to the mayor’s staff. That means all major projects are on hold.

“All of us want these kinds of improvements in quality of life,” said Stimpson. “But it’s just not acting in a fiscally responsible way to make a decision when you don’t have accurate information.”

Stimpson says the skateboarders are victims of bad timing and not a  concerted effort to ditch the project.

“I understand fully where he’s coming from,” said John Hart, a proponent of the skate park. “I just didn’t want this to get pushed back just because it’s a skate park.”

Skateboarders say they often get a bad rap for destroying property. It’s the very reason they say that their park is needed.

“Providing a skate park gives us a place to get off the streets and not harm public property,” said Jewel Cullen, who operates a skateboard shop in Mobile. “That’s not our intention. We’re looking for a safe place to skate.”

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