BRATTLEBORO -- Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte is going to recommend that the Selectboard choose ASD/Stantec of Boston to design the skatepark at Crowell Lot.
The board is expected to consider Lolatte’s recommendation at the regular Selectboard meeting Tuesday night.
Lolatte, and the design subcommittee, chose ASD/Stantec largely because the firm has New England offices and its designers have helped build similar skateparks around the region.
The Recreation and Parks Department released a request for proposals in June to find a firm to design the skatepark and five bids, ranging from $8,900 to $38,900 were sent in to the town.
The bids were opened on July 11.
ASD/Stantec’s bid of $16,50 was actually the second lowest bid, but Lolatte wants the board to approve their request because the firm has experience working in cold weather and has a regional presence.
Lolatte also points out that the firm sent in a strong proposal.
The other design firms were from Washington state and Arizona and two were from California.
The skateboard committee has already raised the money for the design work and the Recreation and Parks Department wants to approve the request now so the town can move ahead to get reliable construction cost estimates and identify any potential construction issues early.
The town is moving ahead with its plan to build the 8,000 to 10,000 square foot
The project has already received a permit from Development Review Board Site, and supporters are trying to raise about $300,000 to cover all costs associated with the project.
The group has so far raised about $92,000.
Skateboard Committee Vice Chairman Dennis Wygmans was on the RFP subcommittee and he said ASD/Stantec’s proximity to Brattleboro was an important part of the subcommittee’s decision to recommend their proposal to the Selectboard.
Wygmans said the town will host public discussion throughout the design process and he said it was important that the designers be available to work with area residents.
"We want to create a park that is aesthetically pleasing and someone with a local presence will have more of an idea of what it means to be in Vermont," he said.
Even though the other firms agreed to be part of the public process, the subcommittee thought it would be easier, and cheaper, in the long run to have designers who only have to travel from Boston is issues arise during the process.
Supporters of a Brattleboro skate park have been trying to get the facility built for years, and throughout the process there have been successes and setbacks.
Wygmans said having a finished design in hand is going to mark an important milestone in the group’s long struggle to get a park built.
He said some committee members though it might be better to wait until all of the money was in hand, but in the end they decided to get a firm to come up with a design that would fit the space and character of Crowell Lot.
Wygmans also points out that firms around the country have been very busy building parks and he wants Brattleboro to move ahead as quickly as possible to confirm costs and make sure there are no surprises once it is time to pour the concrete.
The approved design might even be used to raise additional funding, and it should also help convince those who are opposed to the project that Crowell Lot is actually a perfect spot for the park, Wygmans said.
"Once we have the design in hand we will be able to show people what we have in mind. We understand their concerns. We want a skatepark that is attractive and which works with the natural beauty in the park," Wygmans said. "This is a huge step for us."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311 ext. 279. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.