Skate park improvements underway

skate park closed
The Holmes Beach Skate Park remains closed while contractors are being sought to make repairs. - Kristin Swain | Sun

HOLMES BEACH – After being closed for several months, work is getting underway to reopen the gates of the Holmes Beach Skate Park.

While commissioners allocated $100,000 for improvements to the Parks and Beautification Committee, City Engineer Lynn Burnett is already hard at work to make changes to the aging skate park. During a discussion with commissioners, Burnett revealed she’s already in talks with contractors to replace the current fencing and gates to make the park safer for users. She also is attempting to have a specialist come to the city to evaluate the existing skate ramps and obstacles. Part of the evaluation will include repair of existing facilities.

Once these improvements are in place, Holmes Beach Police Chief Bill Tokajer has a plan to more closely monitor who’s using the park to help lessen liability to the city and keep users safer while on premises. His department, charged with monitoring the skate park, purchased a camera system to be placed at both entrances to the park. The new system will allow police department personnel to monitor users without having to station an officer at the park. All skate park users are required to complete a form releasing the city from liability if injured and file it with the police department.

When the park comes under the planning authority of the Parks and Beautification Committee, Commissioner Judy Titsworth said she’d like to see the group discuss the possibility of increasing the size of the park to appeal to older children and teenagers. Currently, the skate park’s size and design are geared toward younger children and beginning skaters. Titsworth said she’d like to enhance the park to keep older children from leaving the Island to go skate at the larger park in downtown Bradenton.

“I’m hoping we can improve it for kids of all ages,” she said.