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Residents petitioning to bring back wooden section of McHenry Zone Skate & Bike Park

McHENRY – A McHenry resident is asking the community to sign an online petition requesting that the city bring back the wooden section of the McHenry skate park.

Collin Saunders, 23, said he started the petition after recently getting back into BMX riding. The city took out the wooden section of the park in 2010.

“When I was younger, I used to ride at the McHenry skate park,” Saunders said. “Since then, I’ve been going there for countless years later. The wooden park was everyone’s favorite.”

Without the wooden section, the skate park is too crowded, Saunders said.

The McHenry Zone Skate & Bike Park is located in Knox Park and offers a variety of ramps and rails. The park is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. or dusk, whichever is sooner. The facility is open year-round, barring inclement weather.

Although Saunders still uses the park to ride his BMX bike, it’s not the same without the wooden section, he said.

“There was [a sense of] nostalgia with the wooden part of the park,” Saunders said.

The online petition, which was created last month, has garnered more than 440 supporters. Saunders said he’s been spreading the word of his online petition via Facebook, and others have shared the petition link.

Saunders plans to bring his petition in front of the McHenry City Council once he receives enough signatures.

Deputy City Administrator Bill Hobson said the wooden section was removed because it was in disrepair. Hobson said the city explored options to replace it, but the wooden ramps were deemed too labor intensive and costly to build at the time.

“To rebuild the ramp section, we had estimates of over $200,000,” Hobson said.

The city of McHenry built a Safety Town at the end of May where the wooden section of the skate park used to be. The Safety Town is a miniature town that is part of a national program that helps teach safety practices to children.

“We have a Safety Town initiative, which has really taken off and businesses have bought into,” Hobson said.

Although the city is not looking into any skate park additions at this time, Hobson said he appreciates when the public gets involved and lets the city know what it wants.

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