Brattleboro Selectboard to vote on skatepark Tuesday
BRATTLEBORO - The Selectboard is expected to discuss a proposed skatepark for Brattleboro at Tuesday night's board meeting and could vote on the future site of the 6,500-square-foot skatepark at the meeting.
Last year the Selectboard formed a Skateboard Site Selection Committee to find the best locations in town for a privately-funded skatepark. The committee came up with four sites, and the board has since added a fifth possible site at Living Memorial Park.
The sites include the Elm Street parking lot, Crowell Park, and three sites at Living Memorial Park.
In July the Selectboard visited each of the sites and now the board members will try to reach consensus on where the park should be located.
The Site Selection Committee chose Elm Street as its top site, though the Selectboard has not yet given an indication of which site might be chosen as the final location for the skatepark.
Jeff Clark, chairman of the Brattleboro Area Skatepark is Coming, or BASIC, committee said that while there is some disagreement among skatepark committee members about the best site for the park, most of the committee members were willing to continue fundraising even if their top choice is not selected.
"BASIC will move forward with this, whatever site is selected," Clark said. " Each individual will take their own personal action and stick with us or move away."
Some skatepark supporters oppose the Elm Street lot because it has no shade and would be a stand alone facility, compared to being integrated into a park setting at Crowell or Living Memorial Park.
BASIC members voted on each site at their last meeting and Elm Street, as well as the site near the gazebo at Living Memorial Park, were the least favorable locations.
The group members chose the area near the pool at Living Memorial Park as their top pick, while Crowell Lot and the site near the playground at Living Memorial Park were deemed "acceptable."
Both sites at Living Memorial Park would add significant permitting and bank stabilization costs to the project.
For more than three years the Selectboard has heard from the skatepark committee, from neighbors near the potential sites, and from residents who both support and oppose the project.
About a year ago Clark convinced the rest of the skatepark committee to ask for a new site selection process to try to get more townwide support behind their efforts to raise enough money to build a park.
Now, as the Selectboard prepares to choose a final site, Clark said he was looking forward to again starting the fundraising process.
The committee has been unable to apply for many grants, because without a confirmed site and design the group can not apply for financial aid.
If the Selectboard does approve a site on Tuesday Clark said BASIC will be able to go after outside donations and begin, once again, to work toward building a new public skatepark for the skateboard riders in Brattleboro.
"In some ways it feels like we are back at square one," Clark said. "The Selectboard knows all of the options and I hope they can cut through all of the noise. They have to make the right decision which will be best for everyone and not for only one group. BASIC has waited over a year, and like it or not, this is the decision that is going to be made, and at the end of the day, we've got to along with it."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.
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