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Skaters Wanted: Skate Park Development Begins

Lansdale Borough Parks and Recreation Committee wants to organize a panel of skateboarders, young and old, to be involved in the design and development of a skate park during 2013

Skaters — your time has come.

Lansdale Borough Parks and Recreation Committee is officially in the infancy stages of bringing a skate park to Lansdale Borough.

"We have an underserved population in our community: the skateboarders," Saldutti said. "To enhance what we do and provide for that group, we earmarked a skate park. We would like to move that forward."

Parks and Recreation Director Carl Saldutti said Wednesday night about $300,000 in seed money has been earmarked in the proposed 2013 budget for development of a skate park.

"If you want to put in a concrete structure for a skate park, that was running somewhere around $32 a square foot. We were looking at a 10,000-square-foot facility — 100 by 100. So, we came up with the ballpark of $300,000," Saldutti said. 

The first major step, he said, is finding the right location for the skate park.

"Where does it make the most sense to do that?" Saldutti said. "We want to assess our assets."

Chief Robert McDyre, Borough Manager Timi Kirchner, Saldutti and Parks and Recreation Committee Chairwoman Mary Fuller have been brainstorming potential locations.

Saldutti made it clear — the borough will not be designing the park.

"We want to site it at the right spot, and once we do that, then design comes into play," he said. "We're not going to design it. We're going to get input of users."

The plan: Form a panel of skateboarders, ranging from youths to adults, who represent the community to be involved in the project.

"We'll want to hear from them. We'll want to know the elements that they feel are crucial for a successful skate park," Saldutti said.

Once skateboarders give input, then they can appreciate the park.

"They have given their input and ownership in stock. We want them to be stakeholders, then there's a sense of ownership and proprietorship and they want to protect it," Saldutti said. "Those elements are key in having a successful project."

Fuller said the users must be involved in the process all along the way, and that includes design, input and location.

"The more skin they have in the game, the less likely damage will happen (to the park). Not only will they have a vested interest, but they will feel responsibility to make sure others don't damage their park," Fuller said.

A skate park was originally earmarked in the 2010 Lansdale General Obligation Bond as an expense to enhance parks and recreation activities in the borough.

"Council is looking at another bond borrowing," Saldutti said. "I can't speak for council. Hopefully, this group will endorse what we're doing, and when it goes to council, hopefully they embrace it as well and decide where the money will be coming from."

Saldutti said fundraising on the part of the community and even grant writing will be part of the process moving forward.

"Seed money is available from individuals involved in that sport," he said. "We'll be researching that as well. Mary (Fuller) has given me a lead already."

Fuller reiterated that the skateboarders are at the front of the committee's thought process.

"We think they are underserved," she said. "It is something that is needed. We want their input."

Fuller said the committee is recognizing skateboarders need a place to do their thing. 

At present, skaters are often chased out of strip malls and the downtown district, where they take to railings, curbs and the like for grinding and tricks.

Skaters in the Wedgewood development have taken to making their own unofficial skate park at an old tennis court.  

"If we are going to put the time and energy and money and research and manpower into finding the right place and putting this together, let's make sure the users we intend it to be for will use it," Fuller said.

Public safety will play a big part into the development of the park. Fuller said police will be involved, but not in a negative way.

"We hope to offset that stigma of skate parks being gathering places for crime and drugs by virtue of the location we choose," she said. "The park not being hidden away or off the beaten path, but visible, will help." 

Lansdale Borough does have a skateboarding ban, established in 1999, upon any sidewalk, municipal park and municipal parking lot in the downtown business district only. Per the ordinance, the downtown business district is Main Street from Valley Forge Road to Line Street, and Vine Street from Broad Street to Richardson Avenue. Basketball and tennis courts are prohibited to skateboarders too.

Saldutti said it's about giving people of the skateboarding culture a place to go in the borough.

"This isn't a fad," he said. "We're starting to see other things other than the mainstream, like football and baseball, start to develop and become popular."

Saldutti even hinted at the possibility of competitive skateboarding teams forming in the future in Lansdale through use of the skate park.  

Furthermore, Saldutti said there is a knock on the youth of today being obese. Skateboarders, he said, are more than just active; they have agility, dexterity, durability and coordination.

"Why hinder that?" said Fuller.

Where would you like to see a skate park in Lansdale? Tell us in the comments!

Read past articles on the topic of a Lansdale skate park:

  • Lansdale Skate Park Development Poised for 2013
  • Skate Park Funding in Proposed Budget
  • Back to the Grind
erik mangal December 06, 2012 at 08:31 PM
I am a huge skating fan I have been skateboarding for over a decade and have worked with cement to build skateable objects I would love to help design and build this park. I also have many friends that will help. Contact me by email please if anyone wants to talk. Erikmangal@gmail.com thanks -Erik Mangal
Evan Breder February 05, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Gilbert, I am a Lansdale citizen. I am currently per suing skateboarding as a career. I travel EVERY DAY to a skatepark to help build my skills in order to work towards my goal. TODAY i went to the Ambler skatepark and shoveled off all of the snow in order for myself and the surrounding skateboard community to not waste anytime waiting for the snow to melt. You know nothing about the skateboard community. We are a powerful, and constantly active group of young, motivated men. I will be one of the many, there every day, to help prove you wrong with a smile.
matt selnick February 05, 2013 at 01:02 AM
untrue. people like to skateboard, they will do whatever they can to go there. if the borough planned, designed, and created the park themselves, it would be a waste of time and effort. but if the skateboarding population does it, they are definitely going to skate what they want to skate and have fun doing it. I'm assuming your not a skateboarder, so don't assume that all skateboarders are unable to drive and are reckless individuals. I think the park should be made next to the lansdale YMCA in that fenced in abandoned lot because its a great location, main road, and would be a good use of that space.
Evan Breder February 05, 2013 at 01:16 AM
HI, my name is Evan Breder. I had started skateboarding when i was in middle school just as something fun to do. In recent years I have gone from doing it as a hobby, to dedicating my life towards, eventually, becoming a professional skateboarder. I have traveled the entire east coast from parks in Florida, all the way up to New Hampshire. I have competed in close to twenty competitions, and have skated over 30 different parks. I feel I would be one of the top candidates from our town to help design the skatepark because i have seen such a wide variety, and have seen what makes and ruins skateparks. I am not just looking at this as being an opportunity to help the surrounding community, but i would like this park to become my training ground to perfect the skills of myself, and others' so we can reach the level of skating we need in order to become the top skateboarders of our generation. It's good to have smaller obstacles to help learn new things on, but one thing I stress is that there must be difficult, and large obstacles as well. There are so many parks out there which are made perfectly, but the difficulty level is not very high. i would like something young skateboarders can begin their journey on, but also be a park that people like myself can enhance their skills in incredible ways. As soon as plans are made for a meeting i would like to be notified immediately to ensure i do not miss it. I'd like this park to not just help us, but be a catalyst for greatness.
Tony Di Domizio February 05, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Skateboarders: If you are interested in being on a future committee to help develop the skate park, then you can email Councilwoman Mary Fuller at mfuller@lansdale.org to submit your interest.

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