Skatepark committee ready to present site recommendations
BRATTLEBORO -- The Skatepark Site Selection Committee has finished its work and is ready to make its recommendations to the Recreation and Parks Board, which is scheduled to meet on Monday, June 9, at 6 p.m. in the Senior Center in the Gibson Aiken Center.
At that public meeting the Skatepark Committee will talk about its top choices and then the Recreation and Parks Board will likely hold a vote on its site selection before turning that decision over to the Selectboard for final approval.
The skatepark will be built entirely with private funds. The town has made it clear that no public money will be used to construct the facility.
"It’s been a really good process. The whole process has been transparent and open from day one and the public has been able to comment on this from the start," said Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte. "The committee has worked hard. They’ve looked at every corner of town and they’ve really done their homework."
The Skatepark Site Selection Committee chose the Elm Street Parking Lot, which is across the street from New England Youth Theater, as its top choice at its last meeting on May 9.
Then the committee met one final time Thursday night to go through its selections and see if everyone the committee agreed on the top four choices. After meeting for more than an hour Thursday the committee did not make any changes to its list and Elm Street Parking Lot remains the most viable site for a new 6,500 square-foot skatepark, according to the criteria used by the committee.
The Crowell Lot on Western Avenue received the second most number of points while two sites at Living Memorial Park came in third and fourth. The town has all of the meeting notes and agendas, and email correspondences, on the Skatepark Site Selection Committee page of the town website.
After Memorial Day, Lolatte said she is going to start reaching out to people who live in the three neighborhoods where the committee thinks the skatepark could be located.
Lolatte said the June 9 meeting will be an important time for those on both sides of the issue to come out and talk about the site selection committee’s recommendations.
"I’ve got people in each neighborhood and I plan to reach out and get the word out," said Lolatte.
Supporters had a permit to build a skatepark in Crowell Lot but that permit expired after the group was not able to raise enough money within the three years allowed under the permit. The Selectboard then appointed the seven-member Skatepark Site Selection Committee to look at all of the potential sites within Brattleboro, both public and private. The committee has been meeting since December.
The members looked over maps, contacted land owners, and then visited nine locations, some with more than one potential site, before coming up with their top four picks.
Committee Chairwoman Betsy Gentile said the meeting Thursday night gave the group a final chance to go through their notes and talk about the presentation that will be made at the Recreation and Parks Board meeting on Monday, June 9.
After looking at the strengths and weaknesses at each site the Elm Street Parking Lot remained the top recommendation.
"Elm Street still came out way ahead of any other site," Gentile said. "The committee will make its recommendations and then it will be up to the Rec and Parks Board, and then the Selectboard."
Gentile is a member of the Recreation and Parks Board and will take her place on that board during the presentation while Vice-Chairwoman Liz McLoughlin makes the presentation.
"We all feel very good about the process," Gentile said. "The public has had a chance to weigh in the whole way. I don’t know how it could have been more open and transparent."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 279.