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Ripon leaders decline to change name of skate park honoring Curt Pernice
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RIPON — The name on the sign that honors of the central figures in the construction of Ripon’s highly-acclaimed skate park isn’t likely to change.

But that doesn’t mean that the Ripon City Council won’t work with the former two-time mayor who asked that his name be removed from the park because he didn’t feel he was worthy of the recognition. He would rather see it named after young skateboarder Justin Henry who died after battling Leukemia.

With a unanimous vote (Councilman Charlie Gay was absent) the council agreed to form a committee with Dean Uecker and Mayor Chuck Winn to meet with Pernice and see what would be acceptable to him in terms of another form of recognition – like a highly visible plaque placed near the site, or a memorial bench that bears his name.

The general consensus, however, was that Pernice was crucial in the construction of the facility that was designed by a world famous skate park creator and has earned widespread acclaim as one of the best concrete public skate parks in the country.

“Every time I go by that park – except for when it’s raining – it’s always full of people who are out having a good time,” Councilman Garry Krebbs said. “It’s one of the most widely used parks in the community. Period.

“And it wouldn’t have been possible without Curt’s help and guidance.”

Winn, however, was stuck between a rock and hard place when trying to evaluate the request of the man he succeeded and still shares a close relationship with.

While he felt Pernice’s passion and agreed that doing something would be appropriate, Winn wasn’t sure that taking his name off of the sign would be the best way to go about doing it.

“Curt is a very close friend of mine and I love him dearly,” Winn said. “But there are definitely some problems that I see with this scenario.”

Vice Mayor Red Nutt – who for years would joke back and forth with Pernice during council meetings about being next-door neighbors – echoed Winn’s sentiments.

“I don’t think that somebody that does something big enough to warrant having their name placed on it in recognition should have somebody go back and change it,” Nutt said. “I think that it would be appropriate to place a nice plaque honoring this young man if that’s how the rest of the council felt.”