Justin Nave spoke to the Dunlap City Commission Thursday, April 18, about making progress toward building a skate park.
April 19, 2019 – The family and friends of Gavin Gardner are keeping his dream alive of a Dunlap skate park. Gardner's step-father, Justin Nave, spoke to the Dunlap City Commission at their monthly meeting last night, informing them that the #bemoregavin Fund currently has $17,032 in it, contributed for the future construction of a skateboarding facility in downtown Dunlap.
“We can get a decent park for $150-220,000,” he said.
“We would like to be able to raise at least $40-45,000,” Nave said to commissioners. “Are you going to pursue a state grant or city financing?”
“I think the mayor indicated he's going to seek a grant,” City Treasurer Norman Hatfield responded, “but we can't get any more grants until we finish the one we've got.”
Dunlap Mayor Dwain Land was not at Thursday's meeting, and Commissioner Jeff Harmon left half-way through the meeting to attend a church event.
Gavin Gardner, who was 19 at the time, attended public hearings in the spring of 2016 as the city sought public input on plans to upgrade recreational facilities. Although a farmer's market pavilion and a children's splash pad came in as one and two of a local opinion survey, city officials were surprised that there also was a great deal of support for a skate park.
Gardner represented the flourishing community of skateboard enthusiasts in Dunlap, ably fielding questions by city officials about the need for a skate park.
When Gardner died in a house fire in October of that year, there was a groundswell of support for carrying on his dream.
Now, as the city of Dunlap has begun breaking ground for improvements at Harris Park, Gardner's family and friends took the opportunity to let the city know they are still raising money for a skate park. Nave handed a book to the commission with design ideas for a skateboarding facility.
Dunlap Parks & Recreation Director David Anderson said the playground at Harris Park will be closed next week so workers can install a new fence.
“The playground will re-open the following week,” Anderson said.
“It's going to expand the area without adding any equipment,” Hatfield said, pointing out that when the time comes to upgrade the playground, all the equipment will be replaced at one time.
According to spokesmen for the city, the current grading at Harris Park is to remove gravel in front of the stage and replace it with grass. The gravel is being relocated to the vacant lot across State Street from the playground, to lay a foundation for a new basketball court, as the old one will be removed to make space for the splash pad.
The vacant lot where the new basketball court will be is also the location planned for a skate park, although funds have not yet been allocated by the city for its construction.
In other business, the Dunlap City Commission:
- Named a private street off Highpoint Drive “Bernie Drive,” for 911 addressing purposes.
- Held the second reading of Ordinance #269, which will regulate cell towers in the city of Dunlap.
- Heard Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth report his department received 345 calls for service in March, with 144 arrests/citations.
- Heard Dunlap Fire Chief Norman Hatfield report his department responded to 15 alarms in March.
Vice-Mayor Judy Layne moderated Thursday's meeting, and all votes were unanimous.
The Dunlap City Commission meets the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. CDT, in the upstairs commission chambers in the George Wagner Municipal Building between Rankin Avenue and Pine Street. Meetings are open to the public.
A bulldozer sits next to the site where a new basketball court will be built, at the corner of State Street and Cedar Street.