My hope with this column is to address some expressed concerns and questions regarding the construction of a new skate park in the city.

Recently, you may have read coverage regarding the city’s plan to convert an old empty lot that the city currently owns into a new city skate park. This is a project that has been underway for some time.

As with any project, there is a process that we undergo when making decisions about changes within our city or adding or changing amenities that currently exist.

This process includes taking the time to consider all of those who are impacted by any new development or change, and making sure that the final decisions are made with the majority in mind.

We do our best to address all concerns, and to consider those very carefully throughout the process. This does not mean that we alter plans so that one specific business or organization can benefit from it.

Specifically, a concern about parking has recently been made public. We have heard this concern for some time, and took this into careful consideration when creating our project plan. Actually, much of the feedback and concerns we received during this process were actively considered and worked into the plan in order to create a solid project that, within our limitations, addresses as many concerns as possible.

A few years ago, the lot, which is now being converted to a skate park, was actually being considered for a parking lot for general benefit. After careful analysis, however, it was determined that this lot in particular was prohibitive because of size and cost. We could only get about 10 parking spaces into this space, and when you divide the cost per stall, it was much too expensive and not the best use of taxpayer dollars.

The current plan, not only creates a new skate park, but also allows us to provide additional parking. We were able to get a CDBG grant to build the new state park, and we were able to get a Capital State Grant to build a community center.

Because of this grant, we are able to construct these two elements of our park plan without using any of our local taxpayer dollars. At the same time, by removing the old skate park, we will create space for a larger, more effective parking lot that will serve the downtown area and city park.

This project also allows us to address a concern that we heard consistently throughout our process, which was the need to move the skate park location to a separate area in order to make Yelm City Park more universal for activities other than skateboarding, such as gatherings and events for families and small children.

The activities offered in our common community spaces are all different, and while each is valued, these groups can often be served when we create separate spaces for such activities.

We continue to complete improvements and projects that benefit our community as a whole, and we continue to leverage improvements far beyond the capabilities of our local tax base by working diligently to procure grants for community development.

If anyone has questions about any project or local ordinance that we implement, there are many opportunities for you to be able to get the detailed information that will help answer your questions.

You may always contact Yelm City Hall, or, attend any of our many public meetings. And, as always, I am available and welcome you to contact me directly.

Please be sure to provide your contact information so we can get you all the information you need.

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