Teen advocates for skate park repairs

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe
Trenton Lippoldt, 15, is working with Dodge City officials and the community to make repairs to the skate park in Wright Park that hasn't seen improvements made since its inception in 2003.

Trenton Lippoldt, 15, is proving that anyone can make a difference in their community with his proposal to improve the local skate park in Wright Park.

According to assistant city manager Melissa McCoy, the skate park was installed in 2003, and thanks to Lippoldt, people are aware that since then, not much has been done to repair or improve it.

Its perceived ill-maintained status has gone largely ignored, until Lippoldt decided it was time to do something about it.
Lippoldt said it occurred to him one day that someone could get hurt at the skate park through cracks in the concrete potentially catching bike tires, or someone could slip off the old ramps because of the worn paint.

“When that started happening, I was thinking, 'I need to find a way to get ahold of the city,' but I had no idea how to do that,” said Lippoldt.

Lippoldt reached out to the Dodge City community via Facebook with his questions about fixing the skate park and was surprised when the city contacted him about his concerns.

Lippoldt met with city commissioners on May 28 and again on June 3 to discuss evaluating the plans to improve the skate park, including repairs to the concrete, broken lights, repainting rundown equipment, adding no-smoking signs, updating the existing sign and reorganizing the equipment on the east side.

McCoy describes this as falling under part of the city of Dodge City’s 2030 Comprehensive Plan and said the city is currently calculating cost estimates for the updates while also researching prospective grant opportunities to possibly offset the cost.

“It’s great to have a Dodge City youth take such an active role,” said McCoy. “Our future success depends on individuals like Trenton wanting to get engaged with local government.

“He is helping to meet our core value of ongoing improvement, along with our core purpose that together we serve to make Dodge City the best place to be.”

Utilizing social networking sites like Instagram and Facebook, Lippoldt is gathering donations through GoFundMe to help propel the project along and is a little more than halfway to his goal of $2,000.

He said he’d like to see new ramps in the skatepark and hopes to have the current ramps moved around by the end of the month, depending on whether they reach their goal.

Those wanting to donate may visit bit.ly/2AXJwEA.

“There’s a lot going on at the park,” said Lippoldt. “I’m just hoping for it to be a little better and safer for other kids or anyone else who comes to the park.”