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Ramps, bowls taking shape as work on nearby pickleball courts is nearing completion as well

LON AUSTIN - Many of the ramps and bowls had to be built up with dirt piles, which were compacted and then dug back out.

A drive past Prineville's skate park and the adjacent pickleball courts reveals that expansion and renovation work at the two facilities is well under way.

The ramps, the bowl and other features that will comprise the long-pined-for skate park upgrade are beginning to take shape. Dirt mounds used to create the features are getting formed and will later get covered in concrete.

Meanwhile, a short distance north, the pickleball courts are repaved and awaiting a final court surface, net and other items.

Duane Garner, executive director of Crook County Parks and Recreation District, is pleased with the progress on both projects, particularly the skate park, which he said is going very, very well.

"Dreamland Skateparks has been great to work with," he said. "We have made some on-site modifications as we've gone along and I think that is going to be a super good thing — little details that will make the park that much better at the end of the day."

One such change, a major one, involved redesigning the park to avoid removal of a large maple tree in the area.

"They were so flexible and able to move the bowl over…and make it all work to where the tree could stay," Garner said.

Not only has Dreamland Skateparks been flexible in its construction of the park, Garner noted that they have been efficient with their time. The upgrade is either on schedule to meet the Aug. 31 deadline or ahead of schedule.

The skate park expansion, once completed, will double the footprint of the existing park and all of the metal ramps will be replaced in favor of concrete ones. The plaza-style park will be built primarily above ground and feature ramps, steps and a railing. Dreamland Skateparks designed the park with the help of about 60 local kids who weighed in during public sessions regarding what they would like the expanded park to feature.

As July concludes, the mounds of dirt that covered the skate park area have begun to resemble the ramps and bowls that skaters would likely recognize. That clarity should continue in the days ahead.

"Since the water table is so high right there next to the creek, a lot of this park has had to be built up," Garner explained. "So we have had to bring in dirt, they have had to compact it and create these mounds and then dig them back out where bowls and the shapes of slopes are. That is a lot of what you are seeing right now."

Those mounds will have steel rebar built into them, he added, and wooden frames will be utilized along with concrete to finish the process.

"It looks a lot like building a swimming pool," he remarked.

Garner went on to praise the City of Prineville, noting that part of the arrangement of the project was the municipality hauling material in and out of the site. This work helped keep project costs down, he said.

The pickleball court is nearing completion as well. After parks district staff took down the fence around the court, SMAF Construction leveled the site and prepared the gravel beneath the court surface. Tri County Paving came in next and covered the court with 3 inches of asphalt.

In the near future, Cushion Tennis Courts, based in Redmond, will cover the asphalt with a tennis court surface and install the nets and other items needed for play.

Like the skate park, the new pickleball courts are expected to be completed by the end of August.

The recent construction has created a buzz from skaters and pickleball players alike. Garner was told by the Dreamland Skateparks co-owner that they have been getting a lot of positive feedback from the community. Garner has heard similar feedback from the pickleball enthusiasts who are eager to finally play on a decent court.

"There is definitely an excitement," he said.

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