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Stillwater explores locations for new skate park

With a push from a prominent hometown skateboarder, the city is considering plans for a new skate park somewhere in Stillwater.

STILLWATER, Minn. — Thanks to a push from a hometown skateboarding hero, Stillwater is considering locations for a new skate park in the city, although the size and cost of the potential project remain unclear.

Nicole Hause, a Stillwater native who is sponsored by Nike and made the first USA skateboarding team in 2019, presented her idea for a new skate park to the city council this spring. She told council members that an improved skate park could help grow the sport in Stillwater, as well as give kids a place to practice the sport in a controlled environment.

"It really is about having a place for them to be, so they're not all the places everyone doesn't want them to be," Hause said at the council meeting in April. "I feel like, as a skateboarder from Stillwater, it's my duty to give back to this community."

Stillwater Mayor Ted Kozlowski, who grew up skateboarding in this city, said he agrees that a new skate park is sorely needed. The current one, located in a commercial area of the city near a shopping plaza, is at least 25 years old and is noticeably worn. 

"It's certainly dated, and it's just not accessible," Kozlowski said. "There's not a lot of trails or sidewalks or any way for kids to really get up there."

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Kozlowski said the city's parks department has identified several possible locations for a new skate park, including about half of the city's parks. He said he personally favors Lily Lake Park, not far from Stillwater Middle School, and he also said he'd like to see some type of downtown location near the river.

"It doesn't have to be some huge, epic skate park," Kozlowski said, "but just something for kids to mess around with and grind on that's not private property."

While the council was generally supportive of working with Hause on a new skate park plan, there were some reservations expressed at the April meeting about downtown skateboarding. 

"I'm okay with looking for sites, working with other communities... (but) I'm absolutely opposed to doing anything downtown or authorizing anything downtown," council member Michael Polehna said. "The past performance of what's gone on down there with the skateboarders, has shown me there's not a lot of regard for the general public down there."

Mayor Kozlowski said once locations are selected, the city could move forward to find funding sources. Those could include state grants, the mayor said. 

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