CB council declines request to change name of skatepark

Supportive of Levi’s Ledge but uncomfortable changing name of facilities

By Mark Reaman

While the new and improved skatepark in Crested Butte will house both Levi’s Ledge and Crank’s Tank, it will retain the name Big Mine Skatepark. 

Family and friends of local skateboard icon Levi Parr had asked the council last month to include Levi’s Ledge, a concrete block featuring his name that skaters can hit while skating in the park. The ledge is meant to honor Parr who died in a tragic accident along with another resident in Crested Butte South in August of 2022. Parr was riding an e-motorcycle late at night last August and hit a man walking his dogs. Both were killed. After an emotional meeting in July, council agreed to the ledge. 

The skate community, including Parr’s family, friends and the Gunnison Valley Skateboard Alliance, returned to the council on Tuesday, August 8 and asked the council to take  a further step and rename the park Levitate Skatepark as a nod to Levi Parr. After another emotional discussion, the council declined. 

“Levitate or to rise or float in the air is essentially the primary goal of most skateboarders, and the first four letters of the word are Levi which honors his memory and perpetuates his legacy. A perfect name for a skatepark in the mountains,” stated a letter to the town from Parr’s parents and stepparents. 

“The re-naming is not about popularity nor is it about the circumstances surrounding the manner in which we lost him that horrific night last August. This request is genuinely based on who Levi was in respect to the skateboarding community in Crested Butte,” the letter also states.

Between the two council meetings, dozens of speakers were in support of the ledge and the renaming of the park. They made clear that Parr was a huge positive influence for the local skate community and the skatepark over his 22 years. 

A memo from Crested Butte Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails director Janna Hansen detailed the town’s policy for naming facilities in town that was approved by council last May The memo makes clear that “the policy discourages the renaming of facilities and states that ‘name changes to facilities are generally discouraged and prohibited unless the current name causes confusion with other properties with similar names.’” The policy goes on to list a number of items to consider when considering a naming request. 

“The whole skate community supports renaming the park,” said Pete Peacock of the Gunnison Valley Skate Alliance. “It is a great way to remember Levi.”

“If I could have one more conversation with Levi, it would be about the sick new skatepark in Crested Butte and I’d love to tell him it was named after him,” said Levi’s dad Jacob.

Levi’s mom, Teresa Zeiter who, along with Jacob, opened the Air Up There skateboard shop in the 1990s, expressed how Levi basically grew up in the skatepark. “He was known for his kindness and empathy for newcomers and visitors,” she said. “He loved the skatepark and set a good example and was a leader of that community. Memorializing him with Levitate would be an honor. When people ask about the name, they can be told about how much he loved it.”

“With this suggestion our request is very subtle,” said Levi’s stepmom Annie Parr.

“With the construction of the new skatepark it is a perfect time to combine the name with Levi and call it Levitate,” said skater Jesse Gerber.

“I hope you guys consider the name Levitate,” agreed Kyleena Falzone. “The skate community in Crested Butte is tight knit. That park is a meeting place for kids. They aren’t asking to rename Elk Avenue for Levi. It is a small unique community, and it needs to be named for him.”

“The skate community here would be nothing without the Parr family,” said Manni Ragin.

“The town has continually dedicated parks and streets to people so why does it stop here,” said Kami Garvey. “Levitate is a great name for a skatepark. It’s not being asked to be named the Levi Parr Skatepark. It would be a travesty to not honor Levi and this family with this naming.”

“Levi impacted lives everywhere he went, and I think his family deserves this,” said Jackson Allen from Texas, which is where Levi was most recently living.

Marco Ailing said he grew up in CB, “and the skatepark was synonymous with Levi. He was always positive.”

Councilmembers said they were struck by the legacy and respect of the community for Levi, but in the end could not agree to change the name of the park.

Councilmember Beth Goldstone is a school psychologist in the Gunnison Watershed School District and, like at the July meeting, she explained the power of memorials and how they impact a broad swath of people and not just friends and family of the person being memorialized. “I believe in the power of memorials and agree families should create memorials,” she said. “But I don’t think that is the role of government. Government should not put some lives above others. I won’t be supporting this resolution.” 

“I’m with Beth,” said councilmember Gabi Prochaska. “I understand and respect his family’s and the skate community’s desire to honor Levi this way. He was part of a tragic accident. The feature in the park is awesome and a tribute to Levi. I am not ready to rename the park.” 

“Levi was obviously an incredible mentor in the community,” said councilmember Jason MacMillan. “The ledge is a very fitting way to connect with Levi. I agree with Beth and Gabi and don’t believe in naming parks after people. I thank the Parrs and all you guys for their contribution to the parks.”

“It is a struggle for me,” added councilmember Chris Haver. “Levi was an ambassador for that park, and I was blown away by how he treated kids in the park. The idea of Levi’s Ledge is so fitting and is one of the coolest memorials I’ve seen. But I really struggle with the second part of the ask to rename the park from an historical name and can’t support that.”

“I was elected to represent the whole community and you guys are a beautiful part of that community,” said councilmember Anna Fenerty. “There would be people who would be really hurt with this naming given the circumstances and we need to take the whole community into consideration. We live in a world that names things after people. I don’t like that. The world has changed and there are repercussions with naming physical places after people. It’s not just about this request. I’ll keep the same stance while I sit on council. It is important to have these hard conversations to maintain the fabric of the community. The decision we make will be different from what you all call the skatepark. What we have heard from all of you about Levi is so important, but I’ll have to vote no.” 

“It is so hard to see this part of the community come here so united,” said councilmember Mallika Magner. “Levitate is such a great name for a skatepark. But it is hard and painful for others in town. With a heavy heart, I’ll join with my colleagues. Levi’s Ledge is so cool.”

“Right this second I haven’t made a decision on this one,” said mayor Ian Billick. “I will say that five years from now, the memories you have shared will stick with me and I’m grateful for that. I probably won’t know until the roll call vote how I’ll vote, if there is a vote.”

Like at the last meeting Billick asked for a minute of silence and for 60 seconds the council chambers were somberly silent. Billick then asked for a motion. No councilmember chose to make such a motion and so the resolution to rename the park to Levitate Skatepark died for lack of a motion.

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