Why do we need a skatepark?
Skateboarding has moved out of the fringes and into the mainstream, with one in five of all school aged children using skateparks nationwide. By creating a place for all area youth to enjoy healthy outdoor activities, this project will foster an inclusive community where all youth – not just those who play organized sports – can experience a sense of belonging.
Who will pay for the skatepark to be built?
All costs for design and construction of the park were originally intended to be raised privately through charitable contributions from the public, corporate grants, and public and private grants. In 2017 the Town of Brattleboro voted to donate $20,000 toward the project to show their support and help with permitting costs due to the location change. In 2018 the Town of Brattleboro has again voted to donate to the project, this time in the amount of $60,000.
How much will the skatepark cost?
The average professionally designed and built flash-finish concrete park costs about $46.50 per square foot. To design and construct a 4,900 square foot state-of-the-art concrete park will cost approximately $230,000.
Why is it so expensive?
There are less expensive means of building skateparks, either out of wood or steel. Those types of materials, however, do not hold up well to regular use, especially in a climate such as ours. Wood and steel are also very loud materials compared to the quiet butter-smooth finish of concrete. It is our goal to build a park that will require little regular maintenance over a 20 year period.
When will the skatepark be built?
All permits required, both local and state, have been approved. BASIC will soon be sending out an RFP to professional skatepark design firms. Once a designer has been chosen, a minimum of three public meetings with the design firm and all interested residents will be held. The design will then be finalized and an RFP will be sent out to local firms for construction. Final construction is anticipated to take about three to four months.
Why use Living Memorial Park for the skatepark?
Town residents have been trying to build a skatepark in Brattleboro for over 30 years. Building a skatepark in Living Memorial Park allows families that have children of all ages and recreation interests to have access to a wide variety of activities. Skaters will have access to restrooms, water, the snack bar and the town bus as well as the playground and swimming pool. There will be no lighting surrounding the skatepark so it will not be usable at night and the site is away from adjacent residents of Living Memorial Park.
Won’t the skatepark be noisy?
Concrete skateparks are significantly quieter than regular sidewalks and paved roadways, because the surfaces are much smoother. The majority of noise that skateboards make on sidewalks and roads is due to their pitted surfaces, which help with traction in the rain and snow. Furthermore, the skatepark will be seamless, unlike sidewalks, so there will not be skipping noise.
Won’t there be a lot of people parking at the skatepark?
BASIC believes that having the skatepark as a part of the attraction for visitors to Brattleboro is not a bad thing. The skatepark will certainly attract skateboarders from around the region. However, it is important to point out that there are skateparks in many of our neighboring towns that accommodate the skateboarding needs of those populations. Furthermore, the majority of area skateboarders are children who rely on public transportation or their parents to get from point A to point B. For parents and the minority of skateboarders old enough to drive, there will be 6-8 parking spaces provided adjacent to the skatepark as well as parking within a walking distance at the Kiwanis Shelter and Nelson Withington Skating Arena.
What about liability?
Contrary to popular thought, skateboarding is a relatively safe sport with statistics indicating that it ranks below all major sports including basketball, football, hockey, baseball and soccer, and even non-contact sports such as fishing and golf in terms of numbers of hospital visits per participant (US Consumer Products Safety Commission, 1997). Researchers from The Journal of Trauma conclude in a 2002 report that, compared with other sports, skateboarding is relatively safe and that “Skateboarders skating for less than a week account for 1/3 of all injuries”. Injuries to skateboarders occur primarily when skateboarders practice close to traffic, use homemade ramps or encounter uneven surfaces. Each of these concerns is mitigated by the construction of a state-of-the-art skatepark.
Insurance for the skatepark would be provided under the town’s liability umbrella. However, Vermont limits liability for injuries suffered as a result of persons engaging in recreational activities. 12 V.S.A. 1037 – a Vermont statute – states in part that “a person who takes part in any sport accepts as a matter of law the dangers that inhere therein insofar as they are obvious and necessary.” That means that skaters do so at their own risk, and the town’s liability is limited to circumstances where they allow the park to fall into disrepair and haven’t provided the proper warnings regarding skating at your own risk.
Won’t the skatepark just be another place where kids can hang out and party?
Skateparks across the country have demonstrated that skateparks, where kids can spend out-of-school time engaged in healthful activities, have been successful in reducing teenage drug use, crime and violence. According to the former Mayor of Louisville, and creator of the renowned Louisville Extreme Park, David Armstrong, “These facilities have an amazing way of policing themselves . . . If you instill a sense of ownership among its users, they will not want to trash their doorstep.”