For skaters by skaters: Renovations slated for Killeen skate park | Local News

After being presented to the Killeen City Council on Tuesday night, Recreation Services Executive Director Joe Brown went into detail about the plans to renovate the skate park at Conder Park and the community engagement that has driven the new design.

“I didn’t want this to be Joe Brown’s idea, anybody’s idea, City Council’s idea. This has been driven by the skate park community,” Brown said during his presentation to the council on Tuesday. Joined with Brown was Vitalis Dubininkas, Ronnie Phillips, Joanna Duran and Joseph Turner.

Dubininkas, Phillips and Turner are skateboarders and took part in the skate work group set up by Recreation Services.

“It kept me and some of my friends out of trouble,” Dubininkas said of the skate park. “Some of my peers were selling drugs and some were buying them. But me and the boys that stayed in the skate park didn’t do any of that because that took up all of our time,”

Dubininkas, talking during the citizens comment portion of the Tuesday meeting, brought up how the park’s proposed renovation was designed by skateboarders and not someone who is unfamiliar with the sport.

“It’s us athletes that designed it so we know it’s going to be good,” Dubininkas said.

The three men couldn’t stress enough about how many people travel to the local skate park because it has a roof, which it is expected to keep with the redesign.

Courtesy Image A rendering provided to Killeen city officials from American Ramp Company shows what a renovated skate park at Conder Park in Killeen will look like.

Turner, who is a part of a military community of skaters, talked about the importance of the skate park.

“It’s dangerous not because of the sport but because things are falling apart,” Turner said, referring to the aging skate park built in 2005. “The skateboard community deserves a better facility.”

Duran is a parent who takes her kids to the skate park but said that her concerns lied within the safety of the park. There is another skate park at Long Branch Park but part of the appeal of the Conder Skate Park is the covering over the park to provide shade from the sun.

“It’s not the prettiest place but I take them because I’m also concerned with my children’s mental health,” Duran said on Tuesday.


The expected costs of the total renovations is $295,800, which Councilman Michael Boyd said was a little hard to stomach.

“It’s a lot to ask for a single recreational feature,” Boyd said.

Brown did point out to how the skate park renovation is part of the total $2 million Conder Park Improvement Plan, which has already been approved.

A major facet of the renovation plan has been community engagement which Brown says was a neat process to be a part of.

“We started by meeting with them at the skate park. We stood up a skate park workgroup through a survey and town hall meetings and identified a very thoughtful, engaged group, which we as staff will stay connected with moving forward as a great voice from the skaters to our Recreation Services staff, which we feel is very important,” Brown said.

Brown touched more on his and staff’s excitement with delivering a skate park that was designed by the very people who use it.

“Skating is very well within the fabric our community and we are beyond excited about the process we just navigated as we feel strongly that we created and administered a process that was geared from the beginning to capture and source our users’ ideas,” Brown said.

On Thursday, the Herald was able to speak with some skateboarders at the skate park including 15-year-old Coby Dotson.

Dotson said he was not much of skater but the skate park has been a big part of his life.

When asked what his opinion was on the renovations, him and his friends expressed worry but once shown a picture of what the park would look like if renovated, they quickly expressed their approval.

But what the renovated skate park hopes to set out is to be a park that welcome all people, regardless of skill or ability.

“One of the overarching goals of this project was also to create a skate park that touches all skaters, BMX, and scooter riders where they are, meaning an all-abilities park,” Brown said.

While the council is expected to hold a vote on whether to approve the project or not, council members did applaud Brown and Recreation Services staff for their efforts in community engagement.

“What we’re really doing is investing in our youth and you cannot put a price tag on that,” Councilman Jose Segarra said during Tuesday night’s meeting.