Planned sale of La Grange skate park raises questions
The cost of economic development is at the center of a dispute in La Grange over a public skateboard park.
LA GRANGE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The cost of economic development is at the center of a dispute in La Grange over a public skateboard park.
The park was built in 2007 to give young people something to do, but there is controversy over how much longer it will be there.
“I think that this park is one of the central hubs for adults and kids getting together,” said La Grange resident Elizabeth Kirkwood.
Kirkwood is not a skateboarder, but the retired nurse cares about kids. That's why she's upset that the city of La Grange plans to sell this property to a developer.
“It is necessary to basically keep our kids off of the street, to give them a place to hang out with their friends,” Kirkwood said.
La Grange Mayor Joe Davenport says the developer, Bill Doelker, plans to build a combination retail, office and apartment building on the site.
“It's going to bring in revenue for the city,” Davenport said.
Davenport says the city is looking for a new location for the skate park.
“It's not the intention of myself, the city council or anyone just to break the skate park down and store it,” he said.
But park supporters say this is the perfect location.
“We have the police department right across the street. We want our youth and the police to be good friends,” Kirkwood said.
But the controversy is not just the plan to move the skate park. It's also about the fact the city is selling the prime piece of downtown property to the developer for $1.
“That is a little disheartening,” Ellie Troutman said
Troutman owns this boutique and several other downtown properties and says she was never offered that kind of deal.
“Seeing it go for $1, it just kind of bothers me because of the value of my property itself,” she said.
But Mayor Davenport is promising a big return on the investment. WDRB asked him if the city will get more than it’s giving up.
“Oh, definitely, definitely," he said. "Over and over again."
But park supporters remain unconvinced.
“This is, for me, kind of the final straw of watching money take precedence over the quality of life,” Kirkwood said.
The sale is not yet a done deal. The final contract has not been signed and Mayor Davenport says it may not be until early next year.
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