Skate park progressing in Niles
Updated: January 7, 2013 1:43AM
NILES — Keith Sokolowski and his friends have been dedicated to getting a skate park built in Niles and they are one step closer to reaching their goal.
The Niles Park District Board of Commissioners has allocated $25,000 in its 2013 calendar year budget for the creation of a skate park at Washington Park in Niles. Currently, inline skating occurs at that location.
“We finally got it done,” said Sokolowski, a Niles resident and junior at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, about the board setting aside the funds for the skate park.
Sokolowski is the vice president of the Skate Park Committee of Niles and he said more than 1,700 people signed an online petition to get a skate park in the village.
The plan is to move Washington Park’s inline skating to Iceland Ice Center, Niles Park District Board President Ray Czarnik said. He said during the warmer months a multipurpose floor will be put over the ice and it can be used for activities such as inline skating and soccer.
Czarnik said the cost of the skate park could exceed $25,000, depending on what works needs to be done to get the right type of flooring that is currently where the skate park will be at Washington Park, located at Washington Street and Ballard Road.
Sokolowski said they were promised a skate park by a Niles Park District board member in return for helping him with his campaign when he was running for a spot on the board. Sokolowski said he was disappointed when this didn’t happen.
“The kids got a raw deal,” said Czarnik. He added: “We want to make sure we don’t disappoint them.”
Czarnik said he is glad to see kids so involved in the process to get a skate park in town. Sokolowski said that if it wasn’t for Czarnik’s commitment to creating a skate park in Niles, it probably would not have become a reality.
Czarnik said that if the flooring is in pretty good shape the kids will likely have their skate park in 2013, but if it needs a lot of work then it may be completed in 2014.
“I really want to see this done as soon as possible,” said Sokolowski.
A sign stating “Future Home of the Niles Skate Park” will be installed at Washington Park to show community members what’s coming, explained Czarnik.