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Regional Skate Park Idea Gets Warm Reception

Members of the Twin Rivers Council of Governments endorsed the idea unanimously.

They haven't committed any funding, but members of the Two Rivers Council of Governments say they support the concept of a regional skate park for the Easton area.

At the Council's quarterly meeting Wednesday, Easton Mayor Sal Panto pitched the idea of several municipalities funding the skating and BMX facility the city plans to build in Lower Hackett Park.

The plan has been talked about in Easton for several years, with Panto that he wanted to make it a priority for 2012.

Specifically aiming the pitch at neighboring Wilson borough and the townships of Palmer, Forks and Williams, Panto outlined the concept and costs of the park to municipal representatives.

“I don't think the taxpayers can...or should afford four parks at $150,000,” Panto said. “The good news for the other municipalities is Easton will cover all the liability and insurance.”

The 7,700-square-foot park will be of cast-in-place concrete and built on an existing slab that contains a disused street hockey rink and a parking lot, Panto said.

“We're going to do it regardless,” he said, adding that the other municipalities chipping in would allow the project to go forward sooner and give their residents access to the park for the same rates as Easton A regional park might also be more likely to receive grant money, Panto said.

Representatives from the other municipalities in the COG said they thought the idea would likely be well-received, and also promised to present the idea to their respective governing bodies by next month.

“I suspect there will be...support for a regionalized program,” said Forks Supervisor C. David Howell, noting the Board of Supervisors recently considered creating a temporary skate park in the township, but tabled the matter when it felt unprepared to go ahead on short notice.

His fellow supervisor David Billings worried that the contribution would not be a one-time thing, but said he supported the concept.

Wilson Borough Mayor David Perruso said the park would give Wilson youth a place to skate.

“I'm very much interested in this,” Perruso said. “We can't do this ourselves, but joined up...I know there will be a fee, but it's...worth it.”

Perruso said the borough council had no idea of Easton's plans, but he'd bring the matter before the members at the next meeting.

“It's a sport that's growing. I think we have to address it,” he said.

“I am very strong on regional projects, especially ones like this," Palmer Township Supervisor Robert Lammi said. "Sal is right, we can't afford it individually...and to me, it would be foolish to do it individually."

Williams Township also promised to bring the matter to its Board of Supervisors.

Panto suggested contributions could be based on population, with the City of Easton contributing the lion's share at approximately $66,000, Palmer giving about $42,600, Forks about $21,000 and Wilson adding $19,400.

If Williams were to join with about $10,500, the remaining municipalities' share would drop by a few thousand apiece under that scheme.

COG members promised to report back the reactions of their various municipalities before their next meeting in October. The representatives noted that none had money in their budgets for such a project in 2011, but would want ample time to put it in the 2012 budget if the idea was well-received at home.

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