Good News Cretins! Well, for now.
From the Courier-Journal on Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2011
After years of uncertainty on how the Ohio River Bridges Project would affect the Louisville Extreme Park, engineering consultants now say the latest design for rebuilding Spaghetti Junction should leave the popular skate park largely intact, with little likelihood of having to relocate it.
Govs. Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Steve Beshear of Kentucky and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had announced a cost-cutting plan this year for the project that would include Spaghetti Junction being rebuilt in place, instead of being moved to the south as part of the bridges project.
The original highway plan would have required taking more than an acre of the 1.85-acre Extreme Park, said John Sacksteder, project manager for Community Transportation Solutions, the Bridges Project engineering consultant. But the revised plan, while still deemed preliminary, will require Kentucky to take only about two-thirds of an acre at the Extreme Park — or about one-third of the park land, Sacksteder said.
The revised project calls for a ramp to pass over the western portion of the skate park — an on ramp from Brook Street leading to northbound Interstate 65, with a secondary ramp jutting off and leading to westbound I-64. But Sacksteder said there is no intent to sink any piers or pillars into the park’s skating surface. Ultimately, contractors probably will determine the final ramp configuration, including where the ramp supports go.
Skateboarder Adam Sharp said the fact that the Extreme Park can remain largely intact “is definitely a relief.” The park, he said, “has become kind of a tourist destination for skateboarders from all over America and for people who want to skate one of the best parks in the world.”
The park, a pet project of former Louisville Mayor Dave Armstrong, opened in 2002 and cost about $2 million. It has about 40,000 square feet of concrete skating surface and a wood “vert” ramp, along with restrooms.
It is managed by Metro Parks and provides skateboarding, in-line skating and sports biking opportunitiies for all ages and skill levels.
Shawn Fawbush, a longtime skateboarder and an instrumental member of the original users task force that advised the city on the park’s development, said users “were absolutely worried” that the park would have to be either relocated, closed for several years or greatly altered by the construction.
“Everyone has been wondering whether the park would be torn up, or have to close,” he said. Sacksteder speculated that construction in and around the skate park would occur around 2015 or 2016. And he said the work in that area probably could be completed in one construction season, meaning the impact on the skate park would likely take six to 12 months. Officials said that they will decide later whether the park — which is currently open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week — will have to close during construction.
Fawbush said having a concrete ramp over the western side of the park might add to the urban atmosphere. “That’s fine, as long as it’s skateable,” he said. And a pillar or two could be considered as new features of the park, he said. Noah Hulsman, another local skateboarder, said the that adding that a ramp passing over the park would provide some badly needed shade.
Chris Poynter, Fischer’s spokesman, said the administration is tickled that the park won’t have to be torn up, relocated or closed for an extended period. He said the original Spaghetti Junction plan appeared to put the park in jeopardy. “The park has proved to be very popular,” Poynter said. “We are glad to hear that we will not have to rebuild it” somewhere else. “Our goal all along has been to keep the park open,” said Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz. “This is great news.”
The park being "open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m." is news to me. What are they doing, turning off the other half of the lights? (Half of them are blown out already.) I call bullshit. But whatever. What do I know? Just glad to know the park does have some friends in the administration.