Reader submitted

This is a letter in response to your article on

the proposed skateboard park in Spokane, which ran in The Inlander's Dec. 13 edition. It is unlikely that anyone in our area has been involved in the building of more youth facilities that I have. In almost every situation, I involved the young people in both the planning and the construction. Each of these projects has been of the highest quality.

Whenever I am considering a project, I make every effort to visit and evaluate existing projects. Doing so allows me to avoid a lot of mistakes and to incorporate a lot of good ideas. There are few activities as little understood by the general public as skateboarding. It is among the safest unsupervised physical activity we have. In areas such as the Inland Northwest, there are few problems with older and more experienced skateboarders monopolizing a facility. Skateboarding largely is an individual activity. But when a park is designed with a variety of devices for different skill levels and routes that do not create conflicting pathways, few problems exist.

Determining a design is extremely difficult. Skateboarding has gone from one series of challenging designs to another and back again. Some facilities are road-like and lengthy, but the available funding in Spokane's case would not even begin to construct this type of facility. And there are several other goals to keep in mind: the facility must be large enough to allow those with different skill levels to participate without undue physical conflicts, and the structure should also have a roof, to allow for year-round usage and to eliminate dangers stemming from wet surfaces. And it should be of highest quality, both to be safe and to be cost-effective.

If a quality facility such as I have described were to be built under the normal public bidding process, $200,000 would be insufficient to fund it. If the structure was reduced in size to what the $200,000 would pay for, it would not safely and effectively accommodate the potential users.

Duane Hopkins
Newport, Wash.

I liked the anti-fur ad in your December 6 issue, but as I was looking through the publication I was disturbed by the ad on page 35 --"Bring Me Home For the Holidays." The ad tells us that "Baby Wallaroos make great Pets! Cute, Cuddly & amp; Unique."

These baby animals are not "cute and cuddly" when grown. On the Internet, I found an entry from the Oakland Zoo, which may be easily found by any search engine when typing in "wallaroo." Among other things, they are "large, stocky, powerfully built rock kangaroos." Very agile. They grow to five feet in body length and weigh 50-100 pounds and they have an 18-year life expectancy. Prolific gestation period 32 days and they breed throughout the year. The female can have three stages of young with her at one time.

And there's more, but you get the picture. A person getting one of these animals for a pet will likely either get tired of it before it dies, or it will grow completely out of control. Since there are NO agencies set up to handle strays or adoptions, unwanted wallaroos could well be released into the wild and would certainly cause total havoc with other wildlife and the environment.

Does the public have to be reminded over and over that wild animals do not make safe or satisfactory pets? For those who want a cute, cuddly critter, go to one of the Spokane animal shelters and adopt a homeless dog or cat -- they're ALL unique.

Bob Anderlik

Liberty Lake, Wash.

Congratulations on the city's cooperative decision to pursue annexation of adjoining areas with urban services. For years Spokane has extended urban level services, at subsidized prices, to county residents and businesses, with the hope and intention of logically annexing these areas. This is the role and purpose of cities, as opposed to the nature of county government. It saddens me to hear of County Commissioner Kate McCaslin's continued opposition to the logical extension of our urban areas.

While working with practically every county on Washington's west side over the past 20 years, I noted that most were very understanding and supportive of cities extending urban-level services to "urban" county property owners who willingly signed 'no-contest waivers' for future annexation. Vancouver has just one of many cooperative growth strategies that have allowed areas to develop in logical and cost-effective ways.

Where this hasn't occurred, residents have become frustrated over varying levels of service, the potential expense of future connections to urban water and sewer, confusion and duplication due to multiple special districts, and reduced property values because of poor land use planning.

Tax-based and revenue sharing, cooperative inter-local agreements and even regional forms of government (from planning to transit to sewer to library) have often helped facilitate growth and annexation. Timing, however, is critical. Extending services, having land-use plans in place and then waiting decades to act can only draw opposition and political infighting. Best of luck to the city in what can only improve the efficiency, effectiveness and logical growth of our urban area, which is also our best economic development tool.

Patrick Copeland-Malone

Spokane, Wash.

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Sept. 11
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