Skatepark design phase rolling on

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BRATTLEBORO — After more than 10 years of planning challenges, a request for proposals is about to be issued for the design of a skatepark of just under 5,000 square feet at Living Memorial Park.

"This RFP is ready to go," Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte told the Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming Committee [BASIC] at a meeting on Monday. "I just need a date."

The committee approved publishing the RFP next week. Lolatte expects to receive bids three weeks later.

Jeff Clark, Spencer Crispe and Elizabeth McLoughlin were selected to review the bids with Lolatte's department. But several community meetings will be held to help shape the final design. Stormwater drainage issues, which were addressed in local and state permits, will also play a role in the plans.

Lolatte said the design firm will come up with three different designs. Once one is approved, the group will be responsible for providing specifications and overseeing construction.

"It's critically important to maximize the skateable surface," said Crispe.

Clark said he loved the idea of having "give and take, give and take" at community meetings.

His committee is closing in on the funds needed to see the skatepark constructed. On Tuesday, the Select Board authorized applying for a Walmart Foundation Community Grant for $5,000. Another grant will be discussed at the meeting on April 17.

"I think we can start to see the finish line here," Lolatte told the board. "They're in a good position now."

A vote by Town Meeting members at Representative Town Meeting last month to contribute $60,000 to the skatepark project put the total up to $170,000, including outstanding pledges. Another $60,000 is being sought through grants and donations.

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Originally, Town Meeting members were being asked whether to pitch in $20,000. But debate at the meeting raised the figure up another $40,000.

The committee "is enormously grateful" for Town Meeting members' "generous support," Clark wrote in a letter to the editor. "After so many years of planning and fundraising it was so heartwarming to understand that this donation reflects the wide support from the people of Brattleboro."

Committee members are now urging the public to nominate Brattleboro on MeetMeAtThePark.org every single day this month.

"Whatever city wins the most votes gets $25,000," said Melissa Clark, treasurer and secretary of the committee. "The only stipulation is it has to be a public, municipality-owned park. If Brattleboro wins, the money goes to Recreation and Parks or the municipality, then it's up to the town to decide what they want to use the money for."

The catch, Lolatte said, "is you got to get the word out to everyone."

Committee members plan to get the word out via newspapers, radio stations, websites and social media. They will do promotions at Gallery Walk for the next two months and send out letters requesting donations.

A fundraising event is also being discussed. Crispe and Joe Bushey III were urged by other committee members to explore hosting a benefit concert.

To donate, visit brattleboroskatepark.com or youcaring.com/brattleboroareaskatepark-688731, or send a check to BASIC c/o Brattleboro Rec. & Parks Dept., P.O. Box 513, Brattleboro, Vt., 05302. Write BASIC on the memo line.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at

@CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.


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