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O’Fallon Parks Staff Addresses Community Concerns at Westhoff Skate Park

Residents previously expressed concerns regarding noise in the park, people cutting through yards and proposed lighting.

O’Fallon Parks and Recreation staff recently took steps to address several concerns some residents expressed regarding the new Westhoff Skate Park.

The park, located in Westhoff Park at the entrance near T.R. Hughes Boulevard and Cool Springs Industrial Drive, opened in November 2012.

O'Fallon City Council approved the $399,176.46 construction contract with Hardcore Shotcrete Skateparks in July 2012  and construction began in August.

The O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Department worked on the project for nearly two years.

When the city upgraded their Parks and Recreation Master Plan in 2009 and asked residents to share thoughts for improvements, residents responded with requests for a skate park. 

The city hosted several public meetings in 2011 to discuss conceptual designs for the park, based off of feedback from local skaters and residents. 

Managing Director of O'Fallon Parks and Recreation Cindy Springer previously told O'Fallon Patch, the project was included in the city's five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) as a project for 2012 and was also partly funded by the half-cent sales tax passed in 2008 for parks and storm water. 

Springer updated the council on staff’s progress with Westhoff Park at the Thursday, Feb. 28 workshop meeting.

Most concerns came from residents in the Diamond Pointe subdivision nearby, regarding noise in the park, people cutting through yards and proposed lighting.

Springer told the O’Fallon City Council last Thursday that parks staffed addressed the following:

  • Noise: 30 cedar trees ranging from 5-10 feet tall  were planted as a natural barrier.
  • People cutting through yards: Planted cedar trees to block path in addition to signs asking patrons not to cut through yards. O’Fallon rangers also monitored for nearly two weeks.  
  • Proposed Lighting: Lights are directed in plaza and parking area since mid-January. Established winter (9 p.m.) and summer (11 p.m.) hours in April. The lights manually turn off during inclement weather.

Springer added that neither council members or police have received complaints since these measures were instituted.

 “We will continue to monitor them and obviously as Councilman Lucas or Councilman Gardner get any other concerns brought forward, we will hope to address those,” Springer said.

In February, an O'Fallon resident shared a photo of trash littering the park on the O’Fallon Patch Facebook page.

O’Fallon Patch Facebook fans responded to the photos of the skate park: 

  • Ali Hoffman Ramshur: I live close by and don't mind it till I drive by at night and see a bunch of people still there. I think it needs to only be open dusk to dawn. They also need to clean up their trash, that's extremely disrespectful to others!
  • Jim Frain: I am sure that the City of O'Fallon will respond to the trash problems. Trash problems occur at all of the city parks....I will send a brief note to Cheryl Springer at the Parks Department and I'm sure that it will be taken care of. I do not know what they hours are for this park and will inquire with Cheryl. There is a definite need for this park, for all of our parks and for new parks.
  • Steve Ridling: What really should makes me mad is there is a trash can not even 20 ft. away!!
  • Cathy Mueller Hoffmann: If the lighting is sufficient, I see no reason it should close at dusk. If kids are more interested in skating at this park until 9pm instead of shooting paintball guns at vehicles & homes (yes, this happened to our court over the weekend) I think it's great.
  • Carrie Stockton: I love the skatepark, and I live in the neighborhood right beside it. Our kids here in O'Fallon need places to hang out and not get into any trouble. 
  • G. M. Penn Wealth Management: As someone who lives nearby, I think this is a wonderful addition. These kids are outside getting fresh air and exercise. The trash situation is unfortunate, but kudos to OFallon for their commitment in making the city a great place to get out and get active.

On Thursday, Ward 2 Councilmember Rose Mack said she also noticed the trash and suggested putting up reminder signs or having the park rangers direct residents to the waste can nearby. 

Springer said parks staff is addressing the issue in several ways, including working with patrons and skaters who attended the planning committee meetings for the skate park.

 “I’ve emailed them these concerns as well, so we’re asking them to help us,” she said,” I’ve said, you know the bottom line is, if you can’t help us keep it nice, we might have to shut it down so we can clean it really well for a few days, and none of them are going to want to see us do that.”

Springer added as summer approaches, parks staff will be around more frequently to help educate patrons. 

 

Michele March 05, 2013 at 01:25 PM
My son and his friends skate/ride at Westoff regularly. It is a great place that they can go for free and not get harassed for doing something that they enjoy. As a group, I have found the skaters and bikers to be respectful kids who help each other out, cheer each other on, and take care of their skate/riding surface... I have personally seen kids cleaning up at Westoff. Soon they will be tired of it and start policing their own. I know exactly what happens - Kids have their drinks on the ledge where they sit. They get knocked down/ blown over and they forget about even having them there. I have two teenage boys and I know that out of sight sometimes means out of mind. When I mentioned this to my son, he said he would check it out next time he is there and clean it up. They really aren't a bad group of kids! Don't judge them by their looks!
Jim Frain March 05, 2013 at 03:46 PM
The Skate Park has met and surpassed a need by the youth of O'Fallon...Good kids, having fun in O'Fallon...that's great!...What the City of O'Fallon needs to consider and create for our residents is a great Dog Park....The cities around us have them...we clearly need a place for our residents to take their dogs to run free and happy. Anyone else agree with me?
tina March 05, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Nice story patch. ;-)
Sscott March 05, 2013 at 09:50 PM
it only take a few to mess up for all.I think maybe a little extra patrol or park ranger checking in from time to time.not just on trash but to make them selfs known.theses kids waited and deserve a place so they dont skate on sidewalks down roads.reminders as they was given to start,take care of it or we shut it down. And it don't need to be a hang out spot after skate park is closed by anyone. closed means closed. Michele thanks for your son who may of picked up after others.I would bet there more of him then the problem makers.congrats to ofallon for getting on the issues and taking care in solving the problems.if we all remember and look back when Rascals ball field was up and going,the noise,lights an traffic was the issues that has since been worked out.so will this.Jim the people with pets need to address this o'fallon is about the only place that don't have one.it would make a nice addition to the parks we do have.
Devan Rogers March 22, 2013 at 08:00 AM
The park is great I just ride their for the first time yesterday! The only improvements I see that would definitely help would be a little more lighting at night. It's pretty dark in a lot of spots and that can be dangerous when you can't see the best. Also their is some kind of painted on brick like material on a long bank towards the back that is peeling off and making it difficult to ride. It would be best if this was completely scraped because their is a much more skate able smooth surface underneath which I think everyone would agree with.

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