North Fork Valley Skatepark in Paonia

Conceptual drawing of the renovations planned for the North Fork Valley Skatepark in Paonia. 

By Lisa Young

Staff writer

After months of waiting, Delta County officials got on board with the renovation of the North Fork Valley Skatepark by making a significant donation to the project in Paonia.

“Mark Roeber, Delta County Commissioner, has just recently dedicated $10,000 of the county’s recreation funds to help out for the skatepark, so we are very thankful to Mark. That’s just under half of the total funds that we need to raise,” said Jay Canode, fundraising coordinator.

Canode and several youth asked the county to chip in $40,000 after a presentation before commissioners on May 20. The total needed for all repairs and upgrades is around $300,000.

Skatepark enthusiasts plan to rely heavily on GOCO grant money to fund the project. However, they will have to wait at least another six months since the grant process is being restructured.

“We are currently going to be applying for the Tony Hawk Foundation grant that just came up, so we’re starting on that and getting ready to submit for an El Pomar grant as well. Those could potentially be worth many thousands of dollars,” Canode said, adding that a community fundraiser is also in the works.

As chief fundraiser, he asked citizens to contact the mayor and town council while they continue to decide how much money to contribute.

“Let them know how you feel about the skatepark and whether or not you think that’s a good idea to have in the town and encourage them to expedite the process so we can continue down the road with this really good momentum that we have with raising money for the skatepark in Paonia,” he said.

Paonia trustees did take a look at a significant in-kind donation to help the skatepark during their last council meeting. The town could potentially give up to $55,000 for dirt work, fence replacement and continued maintenance.

Town administrator, Corinne Ferguson included a detailed breakdown of in-kind expenses in the board packet. In the report she recommended the board approve and support the revitalization of the skatepark in its current location.

Trustee Dave Knutson said he wasn’t comfortable with town crews being distracted from providing essential service while building a skatepark. He also stated he did not want to see the in-kind help exceed $25,000.

Adriane Panciera who lives next to the park expressed concerns about noise and increased traffic in the area. She said the sound of voices and skateboards bounces off of the community center and back to her house.

“I just want to make it clear that over the last four months the traffic has increased dramatically. My husband and I were pretty okay with the idea last year, but this dramatic increase in traffic is very concerning with having the skatepark in its current location,” she said recommending a different location away from housing.

Canode said he is aware of neighbors’ concerns and suggested moving the park about 50 yards north or adding to the existing fence in order to divide the two properties and help insulate the homes from the noise.

Mayor Mary Bachran said the board will take all public comments into consideration before making any final decision. All parties involved will have time to hash out the details since the GOCO grant cycle has been postponed until March 2021 due to COVID-19.

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