The Active Elk River project is moving right along. The Furniture and Things Community Event Center has been open for over a year, work is finishing up at the Youth Athletic Complex, and hopefully the complete remodeling of Orono Park will be done before the end of the year. Also the Lake Orono dredging was done. There is some trail work on the horizon.

As mentioned above, the Lake Orono phase of the project is heading toward completion. Included in the park makeover was a brand-new skate park. The city used to have a skate park at Lion John Weicht Park, but it was substandard and was eventually removed.

A group of skateboarders began working with the Park and Recreation Commission at that point to help design and build a new park. Their diligence helped get a new skate board complex included in the re-design of Lake Orono.

The construction of the new skate park is nearly complete. From what I have been told it is a state of the art structure that should compare well to any in our area. It should provide an excellent recreation facility for skateboarders from miles around.

Unfortunately, a few weeks back someone chose to vandalize the park with graffiti. This cowardly act upset a lot of people who have worked hard to provide a great facility for the skaters. To damage a park that is not even open yet makes me angry and sad.

In some circles, the local skateboard community doesn’t have the greatest of reputations. I prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt because I know how hard many of them have worked with the city to make this park a reality. I would not go so far to assume it was a skateboarder who perpetrated the crime.

Public property like Orono Park is just that. It is meant for all Elk River citizens to enjoy. All law abiding citizens have respect for public property.

The Active Elk River project has enhanced the recreational opportunities for all citizens of our community. This vandalism has tainted the project but in my eyes the glass is still half full and I am proud of what has been accomplished. — Elk River Mayor John Dietz

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