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Skate park town hall set for tonight; food truck Halloween event planned next week

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Kevin Cowling said he’s expecting a fairly enthusiastic crowd tonight at a town hall meeting to discuss improvements to the Etowah Park skate park.

“Those who are involved in this are very passionate about their sport,” the director of Rome-Floyd Parks & Recreation said Tuesday.

The park at 1325 Kingston Road in Rome offers ramps and a range of variable concrete surfaces for skateboarders to hone their skills, but the 20-year-old facility is showing signs of wear. Cowling sent crews to remove a rotting half-pipe last month, out of safety concerns.

He said there’s not much money in the Parks & Rec budget for improvements right now, but it will be easier to seek funding with a long-range plan to present.

He’s also hopeful area skateboarders will partner with his department on a community workday to fix up what they’ve got now.

“I think there’s a lot of things we can do in-house,” Cowling said. “With skateboarding added to the 2020 Olympics, they’re going to be interested in what happens in their own backyard.”

The town hall meeting is set for 7 p.m. in the Charles C. Parker Center across the parking lot from the skate park.

Cowling’s comments followed the monthly meeting of the Rome-Floyd Parks & Recreation Advisory Board.

Chairman Spencer Brewer said the citizen-board is still trying to define its role, after the authority — which acted as a separate agency — was reorganized as a county department last year.

“What are we supposed to do? How can we better serve the citizens and help Kevin and his staff do their jobs,” he said.

He asked the group to come up with some ideas for the next meeting, which is set for noon on Nov. 15 at the Gilbreath Recreation Center, 106 Garden Ave., in Lindale. The sessions are open to the public.

In other actions:

Cowling announced a collaboration with Charbucks on a Halloween-themed “Truck or Treat” event from 5 to 9 p.m. Oct. 28 at Ridge Ferry Park.

Food trucks and vendors will be set up at the park, along with free inflatables for kids to play on and prizes for Best Costume Duo, Best Character Costume, Scariest Costume, Most Original Costume and Cutest Costume.

Any vendors who want to participate have until noon on Oct. 26 to contact Recreation Manager Betsy Hampson at

Floyd County Manager Jamie McCord said the department’s revenues are down for the year, but its expenses have dropped even more. Cowling attributed the savings in part to preventative maintenance and attention to utility use in all the facilities.

McCord noted that replacing the lighting with LEDs at Thornton Recreation Center is saving $600 a month on the energy bill. It cost $18,000 but they received a $3,000 rebate from Georgia Power, he said, so full payback will come in just over two years.

The money came from the 2013 special purpose, local option sales tax package, which contains $1.7 million for energy efficiency projects in county buildings.