Skatepark deal approved

November 07, 2001 12:00 am

By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

The Crescent City and Del Norte County governments came to agreement yesterday on land, liability and control issues surrounding a proposed skateboard park at least for now.

At issue yesterday was a contract proposed by the city to deed part of the citys Petersen Park to the county to use for the skateboard facility.

The Del Norte County Board of Supervisors voted 3-to-1 to accept the contract the city council had voted unanimously to propose the night before. Supervisor Chuck Blackburn was absent from the proceedings and Supervisor Clyde Eller vehemently opposed signing the contract.

Agreement between the two governments was required in the form of a jointly signed contract before the state grant agency would consider the application.

By Friday they need a document signed by both, said county grant administrator Leslie Zondervan-Droz.

Four members of the City Council sat in the audience of the county board meeting as the supervisors expressed displeasure with the spirit of the contract.

What started out as a project I thought was linked to the City-County Schools Recreation Committee has become heres some land, now county, you do it all, said Supervisor David Finigan.

That sentiment was echoed by Supervisor Eller who ultimately voted against the contract.

The city and their attorney have done an excellent job of shifting all liability to the county. If its going to go forward, it must go forward as a joint city-county-schools project, Eller said.

In defense of the citys position, county counsel Bob Black offered that the city is doing what it can within its limitations.

Black pointed out that its only the county that can secure the grant and only the county that has the proper liability insurance at no extra cost to the taxpayers.

And apart from the gift of the land, there are several ways the city is partnering in this, Black said.

After much talk from all four supervisors about the need for more participation from the city and the school district, Black noted there will be a chance for the county to get out of this contract.

For instance, Black said if the city-county-schools partnership forms a new recreation district which has been proposed the park could be moved out of the countys authority into the new districts authority.

What seemed to tip the supervisors vote toward accepting the contract, however, was a speech by the citys new mayor, Herb Kolodner.

We want to be a partner in this project, but at the same time the design and maintenance of the park has to reside with one entity.

We agreed as a council that if there was not a consensus with you, we wondered if you could generate specific questions and concerns and get them to me by this afternoon. And I will call a special meeting to address them.

We want to work with the community and the county to make this happen, Kolodner said.

With that, Supervisor Finigan moved to accept the contract with an aside that the two governments would work through a joint-powers agreement at a later date.

Supervisor and chairperson Martha McClure seconded the motion and the audience applauded.

This may be one of the actions that finally pulls us together, McClure said.