Downsized: Skatepark Committee OKs reduced park design


BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Area Skatepark is Coming Committee has approved a proposal to downsize the planned skatepark at Crowell Lot -- from 11,000 square feet to approximately 5,000 square feet.

The committee unanimously endorsed the proposal at the BASIC meeting Thursday night.

The skatepark committee has been having trouble raising the approximately $350,000 that would have been needed for the larger park, and over the past few weeks committee members began talking about the idea of eliminating some of the more expensive features of the park and reducing the overall size to save money.

The group has been able to raise about $100,000 in monetary and in-kind donations, and the group needs about $150,000 to build a 5,000-square-foot park.

"The Brattleboro Skatepark Sub-committee will formally request of the Selectboard to approve our adjustment of simply making the park smaller," Committee Chairman Jeff Clark said at the meeting Thursday. "We will also be asking the Selectboard to decide the very same night so we can continue the momentum of our fundraising."

BASIC is a town committee, working with the Recreation and Parks Department, and so Selectboard approval is the first step for the committee. The Brattleboro Town School Board owns Crowell Lot and so the committee will also have to get the school board to approve the new design.

Committee member Linda Whelihan said she spoke with two school board members who said the new skatepark design will probably be accepted by the school board. Clark also said he hoped the school board would support the new design.

"It looks like they are secure in their position of supporting the park. I feel like what we've received so far is good."

And the committee will also have to seek a new permit from the Development Review Board, which will require a public hearing. The DRB already approved the larger park but the two-year permit expired and the group would have had to get a new permit whether it was sticking with the larger design or reducing the size of the park.

"We want to succeed in the mission the Selectboard tasked us with," Clark said. "We are going to have the same designer, same architectural firm. It will just be to scale down the same design to meet the fiscal needs in this economy."

The plan for the new design is located in the same area of Crowell Lot, and engineers who are working with the committee say the play structure that would have been moved with the larger design, will now be able to stay where it is. It was going to cost the committee extra money to move the play structure. The committee is also saving money by eliminating the bowl within the park.

Stantec Design says it is going to cost about $6,000 to make the adjustments to the design.

"I think this is what we need," said committee member Spencer Crispe. "I'm really excited about this possibility that will allow us to keep our momentum going to cross the finish line."

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


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