Tuesday August 13, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Skatepark Committee is hosting a meeting Thursday, Aug. 15, at 6:30 p.m. in the Hanna Cosman Room to talk about possible changes to the park design.

The discussions could potentially also include how the committee wants to approach the looming two-year deadline on the town's permit that was approved by the Development Review Board in August 2011.

At the July 11 Brattleboro Area Skatepark is Coming, or BASIC, meeting, longtime skatepark supporter Spencer Crispe said he was concerned that the committee was losing momentum, and he suggested that maybe the proposed skatepark design be adjusted so the town could begin construction now, with the money that has been raised.

The Selectboard, the Brattleboro school district, which owns the land, and the DRB have all approved the proposed design, but supporters need to raise the money required to build the skatepark at Crowell Lot off of Western Avenue.

It is going to cost between $300,000 and $350,000 to build the park according to the plan that has been approved by the DRB.

Fundraising efforts have been stalled at around $100,000, and that amount of money includes grants, pledges and in-kind donations.

According to ASD Stantec, the design firm that has been working with the town, any changes to the design will cost an additional $8,000 to $10,000.

If the committee approves a smaller skatepark, the firm estimates that the town could build a 5,000- to 7,000-square-foot skatepark for about $150,000.

A smaller skatepark might also allow the existing playstructure to stay at its current location, saving the supporters additional money.

The approved 11,000-square-foot design requires that the play structure be moved.

The Selectboard and the Brattleboro School Board will also have to approve any major changes to the design.

The meeting agenda Thursday includes time to discuss the proposed changes to the skatepark design. But whether the committee decides to rein in its plans or not, it is likely that supporters are going to have to go before the DRB for a new permit.

The Brattleboro Development Review Board approved the skatepark design in August 2011.

Brattleboro resident Barry Adams appealed that decision to the Environmental Court in September and Adams' appeal with the town was settled during mediation in February 2012.

Brattleboro Zoning Administrator Brian Bannon said the DRB permit expires after two years. Bannon said if the design is altered, the new plan would have to be approved as if it is a new permit application.

"It is a two-year permit, and if they want they can re-apply," Bannon said. "If they make changes, or not, either way it has to go before the DRB after two years. It is the same process. The DRB will look at the application and if it continues to meet the requirements it will be good for another two years."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.