The City Council approved a contract Monday with Hood Skateparks of Gladstone to design a skate park to be located at Madison Avenue Playground.
Skateboarders currently practice informally at the plaza on West Front Street in front of the office building owned by the Union County Improvement Authority and at other public locations. The $15,000 design contract includes a provision for public input on the new park.
At Monday's meeting, resident Lamar Mackson questioned both the cost and the location. Mackson was accompanied by his son Isaiah, a skateboarder. Finance Director Ron West said the location is within walking distance from the skaters' current location. He said the $15,000 is only for the design. The estimated cost to construct the skate park is $250,000 and will be paid out of Open Space funds. Documents accompanying the resolution set a minimum area of 5,000 square feet for the skate park.
The playground is located on West Second Street between Madison and Central avenues. It has been the location of a memorial basketball tournament and also has playground equipment for children. Mackson said he felt the location was too small for a skate park.
Mackson and his son Isaiah made a video in 2013 to urge the city to create a skate park. The city did order an environmental probe and soil testing of an East Fourth Street location, but no further action was taken to create a skate park there.
The new plan is described as part of an effort to offer "alternate recreation" for young people and to provide the opportunity to develop positive behaviors so as to prevent crime and violence.