Shaded seating to make the Durango Skate Park on Roosa Avenue a more welcoming and safer place is nearing completion, about two years behind schedule.
The $151,000 gathering area on the north end of the park was a vision of State of the Skate, a group that organizes competitions at the park. The group raised $9,000 to help build the area meant to draw in spectators and families, and help make the park a safe, drug-free environment.
The shade structures and a water fountain are complete, located in an area previously landscaped with boulders, said Cathy Metz, Parks and Recreation director.
“We accomplished the goal to provide those two amenities,” she said.
Planned railings and landscaping in the area will likely be finished in the fall, she said.
Construction of the project, which was scheduled to be finished in 2017, was delayed while city staff worked on competing priorities, such as Lake Nighthorse.
Construction was slowed again by the discovery of underground utility lines that had to be avoided, Metz said.
Skaters resting in the new area Monday said they were thankful for the upgrades, but they had some concerns about design.
“I love the shade. The shade is awesome,” said Cole House, 16. But around 1 p.m. the shade dwindles to almost nothing, said Adrian Griffith, 15.
The skaters were also concerned the drinking fountain was not placed beneath the shade structure and produces warm water.
“It would be better if the city took opinions from actual skateboarders,” House said.
Thomas Robinson said he thought the project had been overbuilt and would have been better if more money had been put into the maintenance of the park itself, such as drainage of the bowls.
Metz said the city was aware the shade structures might not provide adequate shade in the afternoon depending on time of year. The city planted trees in the area to help address that problem in the future, she said.
“They will mature nicely and won’t be long before they provide some additional shade.”
The location of the drinking fountain was dictated, in part, by the location of underground utilities, she said. The fountain is also meant to be visible and accessible to users of the Animas River Trail, not just skaters and BMXers, she said.