Skatepark committee to meet with Brattleboro Selectboard
BRATTLEBORO -- The Skatepark Site Selection Committee is going to meet with the Selectboard at the board's April 1 meeting to provide an update on the committee's work to date.
The committee will likely ask for an extension of a May 1 deadline for recommending potential locations for a new skatepark.
The seven-member site selection committee has been meeting since December and has been charged by the Selectboard to research every available parcel of public and privately held land to determine the best location for a 5,000-square-foot skatepark.
The Skatepark will be built with privately raised money and the town has not committed any money to the project.
The committee has been looking at maps and contacting land owners and has reduced its list of potential sites down to 18.
At the committee's meeting Thursday night Site Chairwoman Betsy Gentile said there was still too much work to do before presenting the board with its recommendations.
The board will probably present its final list in June or July.
The committee started the meeting Thursday with 28 possible locations and ended up with 18 after finding out from landowners that the prices for their parcels were too high, or discounting sites due to topography.
The committee hopes to continue paring down the list to about six or eight sites before scheduling site visits, which the committee hopes will ultimately lead to a final list of recommended sites.
Broadly the final 18 sites include town owned parcels, including parking lots in town, areas around Brattleboro schools, and private land where the owners might be open to donating a portion for the skatepark.
The most promising sites include the town or school district-owned parcels. That list includes Crowell Lot, Living Memorial Park, the Common and the green area near Union Station.
The private parcels still on the list include those at The Austine School, the Exit 1 Industrial Park, areas near the Harris Hill Ski Jump, New England Youth Theater, the roof of the Boy's and Girl's Club, the far end of the Brattleboro Food Co-op parking lot and the Famolare land behind BUHS.
Most of the privately-owned parcels are long shots, some of the committee members admitted Thursday, but some committee members wanted to keep the sites on the list until the land owner officially said no.
The committee is also going to talk to the Brattleboro, BUHS school boards to talk about possible sites at Academy School, the Fort Dummer fields and at the BUHS campus.
Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte said she had a conversation with interim Town Manager Patrick Moreland about some of the town-owned parking lots in town.
Lolatte said Moreland was not very encouraging about using a parking lot for the skatepark and taking away revenue from the town.
Still, the committee is keeping a number of lots on the list, including the Preston Lot, Elm Street Lot, and the lot between High Street and Grove Street.
A number of sites were taken off the list Thursday.
A location at Cotton Mill will not work, the committee found out, but BDCC said there might be space at the Exit 1 Industrial Park,
The Brattleboro Retreat said the campus was off limits, but the conservation easement land near the ski jump the organization owns might be available.
A parcel near Birge Street owned by Dave Manning is off limits as is a piece of land near Dollar General on Western Avenue.
Home Depot is not available, the committee found out, and land near the Renew Salvage building is under contract.
The committee will meet one more time, on March 27, before going before the Selectboard.
The committee hopes to begin site visits to the top contenders in April.
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.
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