Zach McDougall has high hopes for the skate park in Troy.
Speaking during the public comment portion of an April 21 meeting of Troy city council, McDougall described his plans for the predominantly bare 40-by-90-foot slab in Roosevelt Park. To complement the handful of ramps and flat rails dotted around the park, McDougall considered building concrete and cinder block obstacles, including a quarter pipe.
Councilors cheered McDougall on, citing the keen interest of local youth. Mayor Dallas Carr said he had received 16 letters from elementary school students in support of the park’s renovation.
At the same time, city officials warned McDougall not to go too fast. Carr said developing the lot without taking proper precautions could present liability issues.
City clerk Tracy Rebo said the Montana Municipal Interlocal Authority, the city’s insurance provider, lacks clear specifications for skate parks. The authority would, however, require Troy to complete an application that would include design plans.
While McDougall pitched the idea of making the park feel like a renegade with do-it-yourself obstacles, councilors urged him to develop a more traditional proposal. Councilor TJ Boswell recommended working with an engineering firm on the project.
“There are several engineering firms that specialize specifically in creating skateparks and you just say it’s our imprint, put down a design and basically everything is designed,” Boswell said.
While the project didn’t have to be designed to qualify for insurance, Rebo said the work would have to be done by a professional.
McDougall said he had worked on concrete slabs, but had no experience building ramps. He was planning to coordinate with friends who had previously helped build skateparks.
After reviewing the tentative plans for the park, Boswell suggested the city could tackle one or two obstacles per year using grants. Milo Rogers, owner of a local construction company, backed the idea, saying phased work on the park could help keep the public interested.
Having a set of plans would also increase the likelihood of the project being completed. Carr said about once a year an interested resident like McDougall attempted to renovate the park. So far none have been very successful.
Without setting a firm vision for the park, Carr said McDougall also runs the risk of another group launching and taking over the project. The mayor recalled a similar case when residents attempted to reorganize the Troy softball field. After the group did much of their own work, Carr said the city and schools decided to get on the project.
“We tore it up and did it in a more professional way,” Carr said. “But these guys saw the need and they put the time in them. And it is disheartening.
McDougall agreed that developing a plan would be a good step forward.
Boswell suggested forming a committee to oversee work in the park.