Brattleboro skatepark committee pares location list to 10


BRATTLEBORO -- The Skatepark Site Selection Committee has reduced its list of potential locations for a new 5,0000-square-foot skatepark to 10, and the committee will probably begin visiting the sites in April.

All of the site visits will be warned meetings, and the public will be invited to all visits.

The Skatepark Site Selection Committee was appointed by the Selectboard to find the best place in town for a new skatepark, which is going to be built with donations and without public funding.

The committee started Thursday night's meeting with 18 sites and reduced the number down to 10 after talking with some of the property owners. And that list of 10 includes a few longshots, including the Brattleboro Union High School campus, which Superintendent Ron Stahley has said he was opposed to, and three privately owned parcels that might come with a cost.

The committee is mostly committed to only considering sites that will come without a price, since the town's skateboard committee has to raise about $300,000 to build the park.

The privately-owned parcels include the Austine School campus, the Famolare land near the Vermont Agricultural Business Education Center, and land along Cedar Street near the Harris Hill Ski jump and Brattleboro Outing Club. Any of those parcels would have to be donated to the cause and the committee members are still trying to get in touch with the owners.

Along with the BUHS campus, the committee is also considering the Fort Dummer fields, though that also is a longshot because the fields are always used for sports.

The Crowell Lot is still being considered.

One of the strong candidates that emerged from Thursday night's meeting was the parking lot on Elm Street across from New England Youth Theater. Committee Chairwoman Betsy Gentile said she had a conversation with interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland who said the town might be willing to give up that parking revenue.

Another possibility is Living Memorial Park and another on the list is the Brattleboro Common.

The committee members spent about a half hour Wednesday talking about how they are planning to rate the sites. They will probably ultimately come up with a weighted system for deciding on criteria at the next meeting, scheduled for April 3.

The committee also hopes to remove a few sites from the list before the visits, with plans to hopefully visit six to eight locations.

The committee is scheduled to go before the Selectboard April 1 with an update, and is supposed to offer a final recommendation to the Parks and Recreation Board by May 1, but the committee is probably going to ask for an extension until June or July to come with recommendations.

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


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