Brattleboro seeks skatepark funding

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BRATTLEBORO >> Plans for a skatepark could get a shot in the arm if a grant is awarded.

The town's Recreation and Parks Department along with the Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming Committee was given approval by the Selectboard to submit an application seeking a $230,000 National Creative Placemaking Grant from ArtPlace America.

"It's the same entity that gave $370,000 to Next Stage in Putney," said Elizabeth McLoughlin, BASIC Committee member. "It's a community development grant that requires the applicant to prove that the project will improve the community for a particular purpose. In this case, it's the youth of Brattleboro."

The funding would help with the construction and design of the skatepark, which is expected to be built at Living Memorial Park. Another piece of the grant requires applicants to show that projects use art and involve the art community, said McLoughlin. Local arts educator Linda Whelihan's idea is to reuse skateboard wheels in the design.

Selectboard member John Allen worried the grant was "a little bit of a reach."

"But it's great though," he said. "I think it's wonderful."

A promotional video for the grant featured a skatepark, BASIC Committee Chairman Jeff Clark replied.

According to ArtPlace's website, the deadline for submissions is March 2. Applicants will be notified on May 31.

Clark said his group had $28,000 in cash and about $49,000 in pledges and grants, giving them a total of about $77,000. The committee is looking at a 4,200-square-foot design to also include parking.

Clark recalled seeing estimates in the neighborhood of $30 to $35 a square foot about five years ago. After recently reaching out to several design-build firms, he heard back from two plus the municipality of Turners Falls, Mass., where an approximately 7,000-square-foot park was built.

The cost is now pegged at approximately $45 a square foot, meaning $94,000. But Turners Falls reported its costs being closer to $70 a square foot.

"It all comes down to materials used, features, accessories. So there's a big range of square footage," Clark said. "There's a lot of room to play here."

After all of the committee's work, spanning several years now, Allen said, "You just don't want to go into it without getting the best we can get."

Funding will play a big role going forward, Clark told the board.

"It's still going to be a respectable park and it's still going to be something we're going to be proud of and the Selectboard is going to be proud of," he said. "You're going to have a smile on your face."

Contact Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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