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Skate park rolls ahead in West Allis

An illustration shows elements of the skate park to be created in Radtke Park at 84th Street and National Avenue in West Allis.

An illustration shows elements of the skate park to be created in Radtke Park at 84th Street and National Avenue in West Allis.

Feb. 25, 2014

West Allis — It looks like a skate park will become a reality in West Allis.

The Common Council last week approved a construction contract for the facility to be located in Radtke Park at 84th Street and National Avenue. Construction is expected to begin in spring with completion in late summer or fall.

Western Contractors Inc., New Berlin, got the contract with its low bid of $409,998, which the city will pay for with federal Community Development Block Grant dollars and a donation from an anonymous foundation.

Users and benefits

The skate park will be used mainly by skateboarders, scooter riders and trick bikers.

It is designed to be a balance between the kinds of things skateboarders like to bounce around on, such as stairs and benches, and swimming pool boarding features. That balance was favored by nearly two-thirds of local skateboarders who gave input online and at a meeting held by skate park consultant Spohn Ranch Skateparks, said designer Vince Onel.

The skate park should make life happier for everybody, not just the boarders, Alderwoman Cathleen Probst predicted, noting that the facility will draw enthusiasts away from trouble spots.

"We always complain when they're on our sidewalks and property," Probst said.

The youth of West Allis have asked for this for so long, she said, and their athleticism deserves recognition.

Alderman Marty Weigel said of the skate park: "It's an amenity a lot of cities are putting in."

In citywide surveys, a skate park keeps coming up as something people, especially those with children ages 12 to 15 want, Weigel said.

The West Allis park will serve West Allis residents almost exclusively, he predicted.

"It won't be a regional draw. It will be nice but it's not like people are going to come here from Waukesha," he said.

Better bids

The park was delayed because bids came in dramatically higher than the $300,000 the Common Council expected when it approved the skate park in January 2013.

When bids were opened in August, the lowest was $651,175. So, all the bids were rejected in favor of trying again this year. Officials said when those high bids came in that the timing was wrong to get the best prices.

Even though the $409,998 is also more than the $300,000 the council expected, the officials acknowledged that original estimate from the park's designer was too low.

The cost is still in the acceptable range and it won't cost property tax payers anything, Probst said.

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