Bike track, skatepark layouts previewed

Preliminary drafts of a plan for a proposed skateboard park and BMX bike track were reviewed at the November 28 Perham Parks and Recreation Board meeting.

Preliminary drafts of a plan for a proposed skateboard park and BMX bike track were reviewed at the November 28 Perham Parks and Recreation Board meeting.

The preferred plan features about 250 feet of BMX track. At the entrance to the park, a concrete slab would house the skateboard apparatus.

The park board and city council approved "East Park" in northeast Perham as the location for the facility--which has been a concern for the residential area bordering the park.

In an effort to make it more palatable to the concerned neighbors, the bike track was moved as far south as possible, creating a distance of at least 67 to 72 feet from most of the presently-occupied homes. With some minor adjustments to the proposed bike track, another ten feet of setback could be added, noted Merle Meece, city public works director, who prepared the drawings.

The total cost of the project is estimated at about $100,000. The BMX track is the least expensive item, at $4,000 to $6,000, because it involves little more than earth work.


The skateboard park, with an estimated $35,000 for a concrete pad and another $60,000 if fully equipped with the jumps, rails and apparatus skateboarders enjoy, poses a challenge for the informal group of skateboarding youth and parents.

Municipal funds being as tight as they are, the council is likely to expect the skateboard proponents to raise most of the money themselves.

"The city council just doesn't have an open checkbook," said acting park board Chairman Dave Neisen. There are some unspent dollars in the 2007 park board budget, and there may be some 2008 monies, said Neisen, but the vast majority of the dollars will have to be raised.

The fundraising effort suffered a setback when donor Harley Karvonen withdrew his offer of a $10,000 contribution because of delays. Mayor Kevin Keil said he is writing a letter to Karvonen to explore whether he would reconsider. A 92-year-old World War II veteran, Karvonen has been a generous contributor to education, parks and youth-oriented programs.

Hockey group updates park board

In other Perham park board discussions Nov. 28, ice skating and youth hockey plans were outlined by hockey boosters Kevin Swenson and Bryan Tusow.

A record number of under age 11 youth have signed up for the hockey program. By the time the program is in full swing, there are expected to be 50 skaters. For the first year, the Perham hockey association is planning to form an official "Squirt" hockey team that will play tournaments and do some traveling.

Golf course wildflowers discussed


A plan to plant wildflowers in un-irrigated, fringe areas of the Perham Lakeside Golf Course was met with some skepticism by Perham city staff and park board members.

The golf course objective is to reduce mowing and maintenance costs in those "rough" areas. Also, there may be conservation funds available for natural plantings and landscaping.

Park board members asked for more information before acting. Some areas of the golf course and parks are already facing problems with noxious weeds, and there is a concern that unmaintained wildflower areas may promote weed growth.

Skatepark info meeting set Dec. 10

The Perham City Council will be holding an informational meeting on the proposed skateboard and BMX park on Dec. 10, 7 p.m. Representatives from other communities, as well as concerned citizens in the East Park area, are encouraged to attend. Park promoters will also be there to answer questions.

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