FWB Popular Skate Park Could be Shut Down

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Fort Walton Beach City Officials hope to have a state-of-the-art recreation center by the end of 2014.

They say the complex will benefit locals and generate sports tourism revenue.

But it may come at a cost.

The City says they may not renew the lease for Dirt and Cert Skate Park next door.

"Right now it really is an eyesore,” said City Manager Michael Beedie. “You know we are building a new state-of-the-art facility, brand new athletic field, so we want to incorporate the rest of the property to look new, and look like the rest of the athletic complex."

Park owner Bill Madden says up until 2010 the City put money into the skate park.

Now Madden says he's required to pay for all maintenance and utilities.

He also says he knows the skate park needs upgrades, but he can't afford them.

"In the past we saw $1.3 million into the City, by our national and regional events we hosted here,” said Madden. “The Mayor of Fort Walton Beach was here. He saw everything, so it isn't fabricated; it isn't things we are coming up with. It is actual factual numbers."

If City Officials cancel the lease, they may consider building a concrete skate park, which would be easier to maintain.

Madden says he will continue to fight to keep the skate park open.

Meanwhile, the City Manager will bring his proposal to Council Members at the next June meeting.

Madden also says he's considering monthly memberships to attract more people, and generate more money.