By Kellen M. Quigley
Those who like to bike and skateboard could see a new facility for just that in Heritage Park in the coming years with the help of the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Local Springville and Concord officials and other community members interested in seeing a new skatepark in the village met Monday at the current skate park to discuss the possibility of such a project.
Also at the meeting was Trevor Staples, a Built to Play Skatepark Manager with the Tony Hawk Foundation, who said there are a series of grants through the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation that offer up to $250,000 in matching funds to help build skateparks in Western New York.
“I came out a few weeks ago and met with some folks about the possibility of developing a permanent, concrete skatepark to replace the somewhat dangerous skate park that we have here,” he said.
Staples said his role is to help the community apply for the grant and, if awarded, help the community develop the skatepark.
A community group who will lead the process is set to meet at 7 p.m. Monday, July 22 at the Concord Town Hall. All interested in helping to make a new skatepark a reality are invited to attend and share ideas.
Springville Mayor Bill Krebs said part of the process is hearing ideas from the community on what they would like to see in a new skatepark.
Staples said it’s important to get input from those who would use the park. He said asking kids who have been to other parks to share some of the features they like would be helpful to the design process.
“They recommend design firms in specializing these things,” said Springville DPW Superintendent Ken Kostowniak. “They’ll come up with a couple of concepts that will fit our budget … and make sure we get the most bang for our buck.”
One idea for suggested the park would be taking out the current hockey area next to the skatepark and incorporating the space into Heritage Park as a whole.
“Our thing would be to get rid of this, blend it into the park so it fits in with the festivals and concerts and is a safe environment for the kids,” said Village Administrator Liz Melock.
Krebs said a popular concept for a skatepark is a pump track, which has a lot of big and small waves and bumps going around rather than a few ramps and pipes.
“It’s more inviting for ages of all groups,” he added.
Seth Wochensky, director of Springville Center for the Arts, said his family had been to a skatepark that wasn’t built like as its own thing but incorporated into the community park as a whole, which could be more inviting and better for families of all ages.
“The design and the features are important, but what’s really most important at this point is getting a community group together, because that’s the group that will guide the project,” Staples said. “The municipalities will help make it happen, but it’s really up to the young people, the users and the community… We need to see there’s a need from the community.”
To get an idea, Staples recommended searching online or skateparks and finding images or videos to watch to get ideas.
Concord Town Board member Phil Drozd, who was on the committee who got the original skatepark built in the community, said that first park’s equipment was top of the line at the time.
“We didn’t have the benefit of the internet when that was put in, so this is going to be a lot easier,” he said. “We were physically driving to places to look.”
The next deadline for the application process is early September, which this project would not likely have time to apply for. Staples said another round of applications will be accepted in early 2020.
“Out here in Western New York, there isn’t a lot of skateparks, which is why this initiative has come about,” he said. “Hopefully, within the next four years or so, there will be a bunch of skateparks to choose from.”