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New group raising funds for skateboard park lights

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By John Colson

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

A group of local skateboarders, with the blessing of the Carbondale Recreation Department, has embarked on an ambitious plan to raise several thousand dollars for the installation of lights at the North Face Skateboard Park.

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According to Eric Brendlinger of the recreation department, the concept is included in the department’s ultimate plans for the park, though the town cannot afford to do it right now.

“That is part of a recommendation in our 10-year master plan, that we did in 2015,” Brendlinger told The Sopris Sun on Tuesday, explaining that a consultant from Design Workshop, which was in charge of the master planning effort, predicted that lighting would be needed.

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But, Brendlinger said, the consultant also advised the department that outside funding would be needed given Carbondale’s current budget constraints.

So, in their zeal to expand the parks usage into the nighttime hours, skateboarder Casey Siers and a cohort of fellow riders has gone to work to raise the estimated $5,000 to $6,000 that will bring on the lights.

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So far, the group’s main effort has been the production of a calendar featuring naked skateboarders riding around town.

“We’re not showing anything,” emphasized Siers, who is 27. “Basically we’re all skateboarding naked, and we’re selling it.”

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Siers said there was no intention to replicate the wildly successful effort of the so-called Calendar Girls, a group of British women who bared all in 1999 for a calendar sold to raise money for cancer research.

In fact, he said, he was unaware of the earlier effort to link nudity with fund-raising for a worthy cause, as well as of the 2003 movie about the very successful calendar production (they raised two million pounds) starring Helen Mirren.

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The first planned fund-raising event was a calendar-selling party, at $15 per calendar, on Nov. 19 at the Beer Works on Main Street, where Siers said the group raised “about $350, which is not bad.” In addition, he said, the calendar is on sale at the Skate Ship skateboard shop located in the building on Main Street that also houses the Mi Casita restaurant on the ground floor, and the Doctor’s Garden cannabis shop on the third floor.

Other moves have been the establishment of a special account at Alpine Bank (interested parties can donate at any branch bank) under the name, “Light Up The Skate Park Fund,” and a fund-raising page on the GoFundMe.cop “crowdfunding” web site, under the same monicker.

Additional fund-raising events will be announced as they are arranged.

Besides the plan to put up lights for nighttime skateboarding, Siers said, the group is hoping to fund “minor upgrades” to the facility, and ultimately to raise money to expand the skate park.

But an expansion project, he said, will require more intensive fund-raising efforts.

He said the group already knows of some donors interested in contributing significant amounts of money, and there has been discussion of setting up a “sponsorship” program for big donors.

But for now, Siers said, the plan is to get the lights up and on, and to make the Carbondale skate park “the best on the Western Slope.”

He said that, as far as he knows, there are no other lighted parks on the Western Slope, which would make Carbondale’s the first.

Both Siers and Brendlinger said there are formal hoops to be jumped through before the lights can be installed, including the hiring of a lighting consultant to determine what kind of lights would work best.

Noting that the group has been considering the use of LED lights that could minimize the glare for adjacent homeowners, Siers said, “We don’t want any light pollution affecting the neighbors.”

He said there is bound to be a formal application process for getting town approval for the lights and the installation, but that must wait until the needed funds have been raised.

Published in The Sopris Sun on November 24, 2016.

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