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May 30, 2007 – 11:30 a.m.
Council Chambers

Present: A.J. Arnold

Others: Pete Haga, Eric Hammonds, Deb Thompson, John Staley.

The group discussed the difficulty in getting attendance at this and the last commission meeting and strategy to get a meeting put together for the summer. Haga will send out notice of a meeting for June 20 at Noon in Council Chambers.

Haga stated that there are a couple of items that need attention from the commission. This Monday would be the designated date for the report to City Council, which should include a recap of the middle school dance. The group discussed that the dance had a couple of hundred attendees and was a very good event. Haga suggested that perhaps the middle school reps that were at the dance along with the commission president put together the report. Arnold is willing to work on that and try to contact the others involved.

Haga reported that this evening there will be a meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the basement of the Police Department to discuss the potential move of the skatepark from its current location along DeMers Avenue behind the Purpur Arena to a location near downtown in the Park on 1st Avenue North. Haga continued that the hope was to get some of the commissioners to provide feedback on the proposed location and to attend the meeting this evening. Haga stated that they were also hoping to get some of the skaters to attend and get their feedback. Staley commented that in the proposed location there would be enough space to allow for a redesign and potential for expansion of the park, as well as allowing for the potential to set up separate areas for younger and older skaters. The proposed location is also more easily accessible to youth that do not have access to a car, which was one negative for the small site that was by South Middle School. It was commented that some of the older skaters may not like the new site, as it is close to the Police Department, and they sometimes are involved with drugs, but that could also improve the safety and be a positive to attract some others that don’t come now.

Other potential topics that should be discussed this summer are:

1) filling vacancies from graduating seniors.

2) Planning for a Back-To-School event, like another middle school dance. Staley noted that if the commission wanted to use the arena again for this event it would need to be held in September, as in October they start making ice for the hockey programs. Staley also suggested that another idea would be to approach the Canad about an event at the waterpark as he has heard they are open to that type of thing.

3) Potential other summer activities – movie passes do not seem workable. The group discussed checking into discount tickets which can be bought in lots of 100 at the theatre at a reduced price. Cosmic Bowling is also popular with students, but at $10 per night it can be too expensive for some to do regularly.

4) Swimming – older kids still would like to see Riverside Pool open, as it has the diving boards and is deeper so older kids can get in and really swim around. It doesn’t appear that many youth utilize the EGF pool.

5) Arcade – there is one in Columbia Mall and Dance Dance Revolution is very popular, with some playing for hours. Hammonds stated that they also have that at the Base Youth Center and it has a sign up list it’s so popular. Guitar Hero is also popular with teens. General consensus was that teens really want a place to hang out and be together. It was noted that there have been several attempts to establish something in Grand Forks, but all were private and hard to make enough money to keep them reasonably priced for teens to afford. Another problem that has occurred at other failed attempts is drugs and fighting, possibly from a lack of adult supervision at the venues. It was commented that in order to keep things reasonable you need to look at a price of $5 or less and usually that requires a subsidy from somewhere, as staffing wages and other building costs can be expensive. Hammonds noted that the youth on the Air Base are lucky as the facility they have is nice and they do have a subsidy from the federal government to help provide those activities.

Haga will send out an e-mail about next meeting this afternoon and will also send out a written reminder in the mail for those that have not been checking e-mail.