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.