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Vol 5 No. 20- February 2, 2005

Mayor seeks skate fee reduction to $10 a year

By Pat Copeland
sun staff writer

HOLMES BEACH — Mayor Carol Whitmore told commissioners last week that she is seeking a way to allow all youths to use the city’s skate park for a $10 fee.

Youths from Holmes Beach and Anna Maria, which is helping fund the park’s maintenance, can become park members for $10 per year. However, youths from other cities in the county or those visiting relatives must pay $30 per year.

The discussion began when Commissioner Rich Bohnenberger asked Whitmore if she had met with Rex and Helen Hagen about the $29,000, donated to the city by the Rex Hagen Foundation. The money is earmarked for lighting for the city’s baseball field, however, commissioners have maintained that they will never approve lights on the field.

Holmes Beach skater Giorgio Gomez launches himself down one of the ramps at the skate park.

Bohnenberger had suggested that Whitmore ask the Hagens if the city could donate the money to the Anna Maria Island Community Center Building Fund.

"I talked to Rex last week and he really wants to keep the money for lighting," Whitmore explained, "but I want to talk to him about other ideas. We have kids in Bradenton Beach that have to pay $30 to get in the skate park because Bradenton Beach does not donate $500 per year for the park’s maintenance."

Whitmore said she wanted to ask the Hagens to donate the skate park fee for all the cities so all youths can skate for $10.

Commission Chair Sandy Haas-Martens asked if that would be legal under the terms of the ordinance that establishes the skate park fees.

"My recollection is that the ordinance indicates that if the city of Anna Maria and/or Bradenton Beach contribute $500, then the children that reside in that city can skate for $10," City Attorney Patricia Petruff replied. "We didn’t contemplate that a kind citizen would come forth and make the donation on behalf of the cities.

"It somewhat defeats the purpose of trying to make the cities step up to the plate for their own children. Maybe an easier thing to do would be to offset the cost by giving scholarships."
Petruff said she would review the ordinance to see what would be feasible.

Whitmore said she met with the Hagens on Saturday and they want to keep the foundation’s donation for baseball field lighting intact, but will work with her to find a way to make the skate park affordable for all youths.


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