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Town Council Backs Skate Park, Fair Housing Month, No-Mow May

The Town Council met on Wednesday, March 8.

By Zack Hill

The Boone Town Council met Wednesday, March 8, with council members Becca Nenow, Dalton George and Virginia Roseman in attendance as well as Mayor Tim Futrelle and Mayor Pro Tem Edie Tugman.

The council heard a great deal of public support for the current Boone Greenway Skate Park and for the continuation of the project.

JP Pardy, owner of Recess Skate and Snow who is spearheading the project, spoke about how much of a success the park has been for community members.

“As you’ve heard [from supporters at the meeting] the park has been a big hit. People congregate here to be themselves—all ages, genders, incomes—and it sees daily use, dawn to dusk. It promotes a healthy lifestyle and affordable recreation,” Pardy said.

“It’s a great outlet for at-risk youth, gives them somewhere to go to stay active and out of trouble, and it’s also good for tourism,” Pardy continued.

Boone Police Chief Andy LeBeau offered his support as well.

“There haven’t been any problems out there and I think there can be a real temptation [for skaters] to be on private property and this gives young people a place to go,” LeBeau said. “From the police department’s perspective we want to encourage it.”

Ashley Galleher of of Zionville Ramp Company said the park has been a boon to the town and surrounding areas and praised the park’s ability to benefit children and adults alike.

“What we’re trying to provide is a gateway for younger kids to safely get involved,” Galleher said. “They’re comfortable talking to 30 and 40-year olds and there’s a character building aspect of setting goals and achieving them.”

The project, started in 2017 with phase one completed in 2021, has been funded by a number of sources including the town, community donations, NC Parks and Recreation grants and the Tony Hawk Foundation.

Phase two is estimated to cost $270,000. $40,000 in community donations have already been gathered with Pardy requesting $70,000 from the Boone Tourism and Development Authority and $25,000 from the town council, which the town approved unanimously dependent on approval of the NC Parks and Recreation grant, which would match those funds already gathered if also if approved. The total would be enough to complete phase two.

Hardy says the project could be finished in 2 to 3 years if all of the funding is approved and thanked the council for their time and willingness to back the skate park.

Council member Todd Carter returned the appreciation saying, “thank you so much for being here. You represent the best of our community and how you go about building community.”

The council also unanimously approved a measure to join the nation in making April “Fair Housing Month” in light of Boone’s continued struggle to provide affordable housing to the local population as well as students and employees of Appalachian State.

“It’s a small resolution but an important one,” said council member Dalton George. “N.C. Is lagging behind nearly every other state in renter’s rights, so as we pass the resolution, I hope it’s not just words on paper but that we can actually protect renters in town.”

A resolution to support the national “No-Mow May” initiation was also passed unanimously. 

George cited multiple reasons for No-Mow May including that the current model of maintaining and mowing lawns is based in the 1950s, and that its many negative effects include being bad for pollination and the local ecosystem.

“It’s a purely appearance thing [many current lawn-mowing practices] that’s bad for our environment,” said council member Todd Carter.

No-Mow May would place no restrictions on citizens of the town but would mean less mowing of town-maintained public land and property.

Town manager Amy Davis provided updates on other town matters including the recent receipt of $150,000 for an NC DOT feasibility study for expansion of town walking and biking pathways and another $400,000 for storm water assessment from the State Water Infrastructure Authority.

A request for a street closure for the Boonerang Festival by local promotional group DRABA was denied based on a lack of completed paperwork and information provided along with the absence of Davis Parker, DRABA representative who signed the request but failed to attend the meeting.