Ryan Forester goes for a jump a the new skate/bike park. RW

Rocks, air and water liven recreation scene:

Rec. Center sees more improvements, pool more than a dream

By ROBERT WARREN
Rock climbing, skateboarding and swimming...no, it’s not the new private Lynn Canal ferry system. These activities mark the evolution of the Skagway Rec. Center from an old school gym with a four-square court to a state-of-the-art facility.
While the swimming pool is still in the planning stages, the rock climbing wall and skate park have become a reality.
Vertical World is wrapping up the final stages of the rock wall that will cater to the skill levels of beginners to advanced climbers alike.
Rich Johnston, who co-authored the Standards for Climbing Gyms in North America, designed the wall and oversaw its construction.
“It’s really designed for a community center with lots of kids,” said Johnston. “Kids love this stuff. They go crazy over it.”
The large, L-shaped wall was fabricated with modified Portland cement sculpted on three-quarter-inch plywood, a technique Vertical World invented over a decade ago.

Jim Chioffe and Elder build a ramp for the skate park. RW

The Seattle-based company has also constructed climbing walls in Juneau and Anchorage.The first phase of the skate park is also nearly completed. Jim Chioffe is heading up the volunteer effort to build the ramps that can also be used by bicycles.
“This was just the first step. It was almost a tester of the plan company (the company that offered plans for the jumps and ramps), and it worked out great,” said Chioffe.
The plywood ramps are presently rideable, but are still awaiting a ramp sheeting designed specifically for skateboard ramps, as well as some metal components.
Chioffe said that about a quarter of the more than $10,000 budgeted for the skate park has been used, with many more ramps to come
“The more ramps you have, the more options the kids have,” said Chioffe.
The ramp project would never have been launched without the large numbers of volunteers who helped. While Chioffe recognized that there are too many names to mention them all, he spoke highly of the help by Aaron Rodig, Jed Greenstreet, Ryan Forester, and Kyle Mulvihill.
Chioffe was especially pleased with the “determination” of Brandon Arnold.
With all of this strenuous climbing and skating, Skagwayans may soon have a swimming pool to cool off in.
Almost two years after the now 14-year-old Olivia Klupar approached city council with a petition for a local pool, things appear to be happening.
The younger Klupar attended the July 15 Rec. Center board meeting with her father, Karl, to determine what is happening with the pool planning.
The Klupars felt that their lobbying should result in a referendum, which it appears it will.
The board is presently determining what the community needs, and will approach City Council with details on the direction a feasibility study should go.
Board member Bruce Weber hopes the issue can be put before the public by the 2004 general election, or possibly even a special election sooner.
In the mean time, Olivia Klupar will continue to push for the facility she feels the community needs.
“It’s cool to have a pool here so that we don’t have to go over to Haines,” she said.

The new climbing wall takes shape at the Rec. Center. RW