A plan to build a roller hockey rink and a skateboard ramp in Langan Park took a step forward Tuesday, as the Mobile City Council heard from folks on both sides of the issue at a public hearing.

The plan wouldn’t cost the city anything, as the materials and labor would be donated, Council President Gina Gregory said. To make the rink, workers would smooth out an already existing concrete slab that was at one time used as a changing room, she said. Workers would also add a fence. The addition of a skateboard ramp would also be part of the plans.

Mae Naylor said she was in favor of the plans because of the way skateboarding has changed her 9-year-old son. She told the council since he’s picked up skateboarding, he has been more willing to finish projects that before he would’ve found too hard.

“Skateboarding has made my 9-year-old one of the most determined people I know,” she said.

At issue for Naylor is a lack of safe places where her son can use a skateboard. She said when she drives around town she looks for abandoned parking lots, or somewhere that has the space he’d need to skate without having to worry about trespassing.

She added that a quality skate park in the future could lead to revenue for the city.

“Keeping skateboarding at the fringes of our community is detrimental to the city,” Naylor said. “Mobile could generate revenue from skating.”

Gretchen McDermott said she opposed the idea because visitors use the park for rest and peace and quiet is appreciated. She said a skateboard ramp and roller hockey rink would be disruptive.
Maureen Antone told the council she had concerns over safety because skateboarders don’t wear uniforms and hurt themselves.

The council didn’t vote on the proposal Tuesday.

In other business, the council unanimously approved increasing the speed limit on the eastbound portion of the Bayway to 65 miles per hour within the city limits. The speed limit has been 55 miles per hour from the George Wallace Tunnel exit to the city limits.

Jennifer White, director of traffic engineering, said the change only affects about a half mile of Interstate 10 and was a suggestion of the Alabama Department of Transportation.

“This is so it’ll get to 65 (mph) sooner,” she said. “It has nothing to do with trying to ease congestion.”

• Carmike, owner of the Wynnsong 16 cinema on Schillinger Road, has withdrawn its application for an alcohol license through the ABC Board. The council was set to vote on whether or not to approve it, but instead tabled the measure on Tuesday.

Councilwoman Bess Rich said she expects Carmike to reapply for the license, which would allow the theater in her district to sell beer and wine to guests 21 or older.

• The council approved a contract with Bill Smith Electric for $100,989 for lighting, as part of plans for a new soccer field at Herndon Park. The plan, which will use $1 million in county funds to develop a new field, was approved during the last council meeting.

• The council also approved a contract with Youngblood Barrett Construction and Engineering LLC in the amount of $13,945 for renovations to the Mobile Police Department’s First Precinct.