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2013-05-30

Official skate park committee seeks funds, grants

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

The City of Bandera's long-anticipated skate park took yet another baby step toward reality during the Thursday, May 16, meeting of Bandera City Council.

By a unanimous decision and despite several concerns, council approved creating a skate park committee, headed up by prime mover Glenn Clark and interim financial officer Mae Vion Meyer. Other members include Gregg Parker, director of the Boys & Girls Club of Bandera County; Chris Newman; and JoAnn Arguelles. According to Clark, Parker will be in charge of public relations, including planning a fundraiser in September. With input from skateboarders, Newman will design the skate park.

According to the agenda item, the committee would also be authorized to collect funds for deposit in a special Bandera Skate Park Trust Fund and "to establish grants for construction of a skate park to be in City Park." Clark noted that while the group doesn't need city council's approval for fundraising, they would need to be a designated representative of the city before beginning applying for grants.

Since the idea of constructing a skate park was resurrected recently, $1,400 in donations has been added to the $3,900 collected a decade ago.

Clark answered in the affirmative when Councilman Binky Archer asked if the committee was being established for fundraising purposes. Councilman Brandi Morgan wanted assurance that the skate park committee would work in conjunction with the City of Bandera Economic Development Corporation, which appears to be taking the lead on development and improvements at City Park. She seemed especially concerned with the location of the proposed skate park.

City Administrator Mike Cardenas said that in 2002, council approved constructing the facility behind the restrooms, "This shouldn't impact EDC plans," Cardenas said, adding, "Any changes will have to be brought before council."

After noting that the previous funds raised for the skate park had been turned over to the city, Joe Hearn said, "Glenn wants to function under the umbrella of the city." Questions arose concerning the committee's nonprofit status.

Mayor Pro Tem John Hegemier suggested setting up the committee as a separate 501(c)3 entity. However, event coordinator Genie Strickland told council that when grants are solicited through a city that would qualify as a 501(c)3.

Hearn reiterated that the committee "needs to function under the umbrella of the city."

Councilman Maggie Schumacher asked whether a public hearing had been held prior to a former city council approving construction and location of the skate park. Cardenas said a hearing had never been held, but opined belatedly that one "should have been."

Regarding liability insurance, Morgan said that former mayor, the late Horst Pallaske, had researched liability insurance but that the rest of council had not been privy to the information because, in her words, "nothing was moving forward on the skate park at that time." In an email, Morgan recalled that, according to Pallaske, liability insurance would only cost about $300 per year.

Municipal attorney Monte Akers made it clear that as the account stands now, money can be deposited, but not withdrawn.

Hegemier expressed reservations about this to the committee, saying, "If you raise money and put it in the bank, it will be locked away forever. You might need it for fundraising expenses."

However, Clark insisted the committee would not use donations for fundraising. "We don't need any money. A private citizen is going to make the T-shirts and we'll refund her." Donations, he added, would go directly to the specially designated skate park account.

Unconvinced, Hegemire noted, "You don't want this to come back and bite you."

Mayor Don Clark suggested that council defer to Glenn Clark's wishes that all donations go into the skate park account. "We should just do it," he said.

"At this point, a public hearing on the skate park is moot," Archer added.

With that, council voted unanimously to approve forming a committee for the purpose of collecting donations and applying for grants to fund the construction of a skate park in City Park.