Gypsum skaters actively participate in new community skate park project

The current Gypsum Skatepark in Gypsum was built in 2001 and is located near the Gypsum Public Library. Nearby, the projected site for the construction of the 2023 skate park looms, with many residents weighing in on its potential.
Town of Gypsum/Courtesy Photo

The skate park in the city of Gypsum needs to be modernized. Realizing a local student-led effort, the city is bringing Grindline to the rescue. Grindline is a concrete skate park design and construction company dedicated to building skate facilities with hands-on community influence.

To kick off the new 10,000 square foot skate park project, Grindline invited local skaters of all ages and backgrounds to Eagle Valley High School on Friday, where they got an in-depth look at the design and construction process employed. by Grindline. Friday’s meeting was also feedback-driven. Finding out what kind of skatepark to build for the Gypsum community involves finding out what elements local skaters appreciate in a park.

Dedicated skaters from Gypsum and across the Valley turned out in droves at Eagle Valley High. Nearly 50 participants were eager to have their say on the design of the park.

Even though Friday night marked the first hours of freedom for local students at the start of fall vacation, many student skaters found themselves in a classroom to give their thoughts on something they were passionate about.

“Students, I know it’s Friday night before break, and you’re here to make a difference in your community,” said Kendall Vanvalkenburg, a teacher at Eagle Valley High School. ” It’s a big problem. Thanks.”

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However, before heading to the Grindline skatepark meeting, the local skaters had some homework to do before the fall break. Prior to attending the meeting, skaters were asked to complete a survey, which helped organize and rank skatepark amenities and the features the community most wants to see in the new park.

Grindline CEO Matt Fluegge explained that the company, which specializes in building cast-in-place concrete skate parks, sticks to the values ​​that help it create parks it is proud of.

“Our skate park ethos is community involvement, timeless design and inclusive context,” Fluegge said.

At Friday’s meeting, Gypsum residents let Grindline’s Fluegge know what they wanted to see in the new park. Additionally, Grindline aims to involve the local community even more, adding artistic design elements to the park that show the spirit and culture of Gypsum.

Understanding that local skaters will become the experts at the new park, Grindline sent out an online survey that community members can participate in. Local skaters responded to the survey in large numbers. Fluegge said the poll received 75 responses from skaters across the community. Of the participants, 68% reside in Gypsum.

The survey asked residents what kind of balance they would like to see in budget and design efforts between skate park features and skater amenities. Additionally, respondents were given the opportunity to rank their favorite features in a park, voting for which features Gypsum’s new skate park might have. Because of the importance Grindline places on the community deciding what their skate park will look like, the 75 respondents were eager to have their voices heard. For many youth survey participants, this type of engagement was an introduction to community engagement.

When presenting the survey results to the skaters in attendance Friday, Fluegge explained how Gypsum’s respondent demographic was made up of more people under the age of 18 than society typically sees.

“It’s cool to see that the youth in the community have been involved in the feedback,” Fluegge said.

The survey showed that Gypsum skaters would prefer the new skatepark to have 80% of its budget and energy focused on skatepark features, while 20% can be spent on amenities such as benches, shadow and other elements.

Participants at Friday’s meeting explained the importance of keeping much of the project focused on the features of the skate park. Some of the veteran skaters in the community reflected on past projects in the valley. They discussed how harsh winters harm everything in the park and how often equipment gets destroyed quite quickly. Many attendees agreed that putting energy into keeping the park itself usable was their top priority.

The survey results also hinted at some of the street and transitional features that Grindline will be aiming to include in the new park. Respondents specified, for example, that ledges, stairs, and mini ramps are all things they would like to skate in Gypsum.

While Grindline takes community feedback to heart, Fluegge explained that developing a “flow” in the park is an area where the company’s park designers are experts.

“You’re going to tell us the million things you want to see in the skate park and we’re going to have to go back and digest all of that information and incorporate as much of it as we can,” Fluegge said. “But we have to consider what we know about skatepark design and it’s like special relationships between features and things like that.”

Having enough time and space to set up and land tricks, as well as getting around the park in a safe and fun way, are design elements the Fluegge team will need to understand.

In addition to satisfying science and safety, the Grindline team is also responsible for satisfying the goals the city has for the park. Fluegge listed some of the city’s demands during Friday’s meeting.

“(The project should create) a place where community members can come together in a way that wouldn’t otherwise happen,” Fluegge said.

Another goal the city had for the skate park is to add, alongside the popular street elements, transitional terrain that the existing Gypsum skate park lacks.

“I think we can all agree that the existing stock is a bit outdated and there’s definitely a lot of things that aren’t working,” Fluegge said.

So, in order to meet the goals set by the city and satisfy local skaters with features they want to see, Grindline has its work cut out for it. Today, the company is working to develop a model that meets the greatest number of requests at once and maintains fluidity in the park.

Grindline representatives are scheduled to return to Eagle Valley High School on Nov. 3. At 5 p.m., local skaters will once again crowd into a classroom to give their thoughts on the new skate park. At the November 3 meeting, Grindline will present a draft model to the community in hopes of getting additional feedback before the design is finalized and approved by the city on December 13.

“That’s when we’re going to come back with this 3D render of a design based on all of your input that we get,” Fluegge said. “I’ll bring the actual model so we can kind of cruise around the park and I can pull the dimensions and stuff like that if you want to see the steps, the spokes, all that stuff.”

After approval of the final design by the City, Grindline will then embark on the construction process. Mass excavation, drainage work, placement and finishing will all be carefully carried out by Grindline. Fluegge said he and his team hope to ensure a more sustainable and better maintained park than the already existing Gypsum skatepark.

“It’s kind of where we hand the park over to you as a community, say goodbye and it’s yours, take care of it and use it from there,” Fluegge said.

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