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City officials decide to allow bicycles at Price skate park

Sun Advocate reporter

Skateboarders recreating at the Price skate park can expect to see bicycles sharing the space on a limited basis starting on Aug. 9.

In the last two regular meetings of the Price City Council, youth seeking bike access on the skate park have petitioned the governmental body.

According to bike group spokesperson Ben Kilbourne, several upstate skate parks allow both skateboarders and bikers and have had no major problems.

Mayor Joe Piccolo said he had researched two multiple-use parks in Orem and Sandy and had found that the cities had little concern about the two types of recreationists sharing the same space.

However, whereas Sandy's and Orem's skate parks are around 45,000 square feet, Price's facility is only half the size.

Piccolo voiced concern that the larger bikes could pose a safety risk in the limited expanse, especially for younger skateboarders.

"You guys are the elk and the skateboarders are the deer," he pointed out.

Questions of the city's liability were also discussed.

Price City Attorney Nick Sampinos affirmed that allowing the bikes on the park could increase the city's exposure.

"You guys are pretty big kids," commented Councilwoman Betty Wheeler. "Unless we made some rules and really sat down, I think those little kids would be frightened."

Councilwoman Jeanne McEvoy, who had voiced the desire to see more use of the skate park when the group originally approached city officials, reaffirmed her desire to see more area youth using the park.

"But to do it safely would be the priority," added McEvoy.

The suggestion was made that the council should allow bikers to be the sole users of the park on Tuesday and Thursday, then combine use on Sunday.

The recommendation was met with opposition from Councilman Stephen Denison and several of the petitioning youth.

Denison said he felt that separating the groups would defeat the council's purpose of seeing if a multiple-use situation could work.

The youth had a different concern.

"We'd feel bad about taking time from the skaters," stated Kilbourne. "I think all together is the way to go. Taking anything away from the skateboarders might create controversy."

The group agreed that members would rather have joint access on Sunday rather than take Tuesday and Thursday away from the skateboarders.

Council member Richard Tatton indicated that he was not comfortable to go ahead without hearing from someone representing the skateboarding side of things.

The group introduced Joe Gileadi, a skateboarder who had come to support the addition.

"Anyone I know who skateboards really doesn't have a problem," he informed the council.

Tatton reminded the group that "belligerent attitudes" from the bikers and conflict when the park was first introduced was the reason bikes aren't there now.

"Has everyone's attitude mellowed a bit," he questioned.

The youth joked back to Tatton that the troublemakers had just gotten cars.

In the end, Denison made a motion that the bikes should be allowed to share the skate park Thursdays and Sundays for a trial period.

City engineer Gary Sonntag requested that the change not be implemented until Aug. 9 so that the city employees had time to set up signs for the new use pattern, to which the council agreed.

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