Mammoth’s Town Council approved an expansion of Brothers Skatepark last week.
Mammoth Lakes Town Council gave the JLA Project the go-ahead to construct a 5,000-square foot addition to the Volcom Brothers Skatepark at Wednesday night’s regular meeting in Suite Z in the Minaret Mall.
Jo Bacon cast the lone dissenting vote.
The JLA Foundation, spearheaded by Jane Baer in memory of her son, the late Jeff Anderson, was the driving force behind the construction of Volcom Brothers Skatepark in 2005.
Almost immediately, the park found its way onto many national top ten lists, and at one point, Mammoth had the cover shot in Thrasher Magazine headlining an article about the top 100 places you have to skateboard before you die.
The park is still a popular destination, says local Mike Lary, for top skaters, especially those wishing to add a photo or two to their portfolio.
Lary, along with Mark Kleinertz, Brian Sizer and Dawn True, are the current keepers of the park, an informal group which keeps an eye on park maintenance as well as ethos.
Baer then works with the Town’s Parks Superintendent Dennis Rottner to fulfill maintenance requests. In general, said Baer, she supplies the labor while the Town supplies the materials.
The park is adding the addition this month, called Little Brothers, to serve younger skaters and the disabled. As 6th grader Tyler Kleinertz said at Tuesday’s Rec Commission meeting, she thinks the less intimidating beginner area will encourage more young girls to pick up the sport
Estimated price tag for the Little Brothers addition: $45,000.
Consistent with past construction efforts at the park, Baer is receiving various in-kind donations of labor and cash. This time, Mammoth Mountain is again helping with earthmoving efforts, while Councilman John Eastman has donated the pavers and Wave Rave’s Steve Klassen has kicked in a few grand for cement.
While Recreation Commissioner Teri Stehlik expressed concern at Rec’s Tuesday meeting about who will be responsible to pay for ongoing maintenance, Baer replied that as long as she’s alive, the JLA Foundation will always have the money on hand to take care of it.
Baer said the two fundraising events the JLA Foundation puts on, the Banked Slalom at MMSA and the Putting Contest at Sierra Star, raised approximately $45,000 last year alone.
Volcom also contributes $7,500 a year for maintenance.
Council hesitated in its approval of the project, nervous about the lack of a construction performance bond.
Town Attorney Andrew Morris explained that the Town does not need a performance bond because it is not paying for the project.
In a letter written Wednesday night after the vote, Baer wrote, “There is one point I hope you can clarify for the community. The town did not spend a million dollars in the skatepark. The town did build a turn out lane to get into the park and a bathroom. These upgrades are for the total Trails End Park, not just the skatepark. The Water District waived the [connection] fee and gave $65,000 toward the bathroom … [Town Sr. Associate Civil Engineer] Peter Bernasconi explained to council that the only expense the town has incurred was related to the contractor the town hired to check the structure and safety of the cradle.
“The JLA Project has contributed to all the maintenance and upgrades on the skatepark in the past 7 years.”
As Lary said in an interview Wednesday afternoon, “There are families who come to the park every evening, attracted by its small-town atmosphere and inclusiveness.”
In other words, the Skatepark showcases all of Mammoth’s best qualities.