JCC approves skate park facelift, water well bid

by Cristin Parker

Jacksonville’s Nichols Green skate park is getting some gnarly love from its community.

Jacksonville City Council members on Tuesday, June 12, unanimously approved to make repairs to certain features of the skateboard park, to pave the way for an upgrade project recently proposed by community members.

“If you remember, during our last meeting, several community members brought us information on this project,” City Manager Greg Smith said during the June 12 meeting. “We couldn’t take action on it at that time since it wasn’t on the agenda. We’re returning to the issue today to take action, so we can let them (volunteers) begin.”

Volunteers last month reached out to the Jacksonville City Council to propose giving the skatepark a facelift in the form of repairing and upgrading various obstacles at the park and adding attitude by painting the skating surface in colorful, artistic patterns and other graffiti-like themes.

“The only stipulation we have is to make sure the paint used does not adversely affect the skating surface,” Smith said.

Project volunteer Whitney Carter presented a power-point presentation to council members during the May 15 council meeting, listing the types of improvements the volunteer group would like to incorporate at the skatepark.

“The skate park needs some attention,” Carter said at the May 15 meeting. “We’d like to repaint the ramps and other equipment out there.”

She showed photos of some of the designs that would be featured, including a Fibonacci, or logarithmic, spiral – a geometric figure that gets wider as it spirals, similar to a nautilus seashell.

“We need 20 volunteers for 30 days to get this project complete,” Carter said.

Carter said she and other project organizers have researched different paints with which to do the project and decided Montana brand spray paint would be the best paint at the best cost.

“We’re getting the paint on a grant program from its manufacturer,” she said.

According to the company’s website, Montana products “have been developed and optimized over years by artists, writers and scientists to provide a perfect tool for special requirements. Characteristics like short drying time, proper coverage, a brilliant and extremely wide color table and more are the result.”

During Tuesday’s meeting, Councilman Rob Gowin asked what the extent of the repairs the city would do were.

“Are these features made of wood or metal or what,” Gowin wanted to know.

Jacksonville Public Works Director Jordan Yutzy explained, “The half pipe is metal, but some of the ramps are wooden. They haven’t been maintained in several years and as the existing paint has worn off, the wood surfaces have rotted.”

In other business, Jacksonville council members also approved a $574,800 bid from Russell Drilling to continue work on the city’s water well No. 6., located off U.S. Highway 175.The proposed well will be 18 inches in diameter and 1,040 feet deep. A test well, measuring 4 inches in diameter and 1,000 feet deep has already been drilled at the location.

“Once we drilled the test well, we started getting more water than our pumps could pump out,” Yutzy said. “Once we get the plans from the drillers, we’ll know better how much water we can get and what type of pump we’ll need there.”

Other agenda items the Jacksonville Council approved on Tuesday include:

- The reappointments of Jason Childress, John Anderson and Annie Blanton to the city’s board of Adjustments, Appeals and Codes;

- Closing M.B. Davis Street, from H.V. Jones Street to Holloway Street, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, June 23, for the annual Juneteenth celebration at Lincoln Park Pavilion;

- A request for water service to a single-family residence at 600 CR 3301;

- Employee of the Month Jacksonville Police Sergeant Royce McCullough, who’s been with the department since 1991; and

- Jacksonville Economic Development Corporation’s Employer of the Month, Convergys, which generally employs 200 people, which can increase to 400 during the company’s peak time.

The Jacksonville City Council meets at 6 p.m., every second Tuesday of the month at Jacksonville City Hall, 315 S. Ragsdale St.