HUDSON — City officials are looking to expand the skate park by about 2,500 square feet as part of a planned renovation of the entire site.

Council previously authorized spending $250,000 to renovate the park structures and pad at Veterans Way Park that have been in place for 15 years.

City manager Jane Howington said skateboarders visited council and the park board several months ago recommending the city either expand the 7,500-square-foot park or remove some equipment to create more space. Council asked city staff and park board members to meet with the skateboarders and discuss ideas with them.

As a result, the park board is requesting $75,000 more in funding to enlarge the footprint of the proposed skate park renovation by 2,500 square feet. According to Hudson Park Board Chairman Keith Smith, the overall cost to enlarge the park is $125,000, but a $50,000 voluntary donation from Vans Shoe Co. will bring the city’s expense down to $75,000.

The legislation to request the additional money had a first reading at the council meeting on June 18.

Smith said that without the renovation, the park would have to be closed next year due to safety concerns.

“The skate park in its current condition ... is being held together with bubble gum and hockey tape,” said Smith. “It’s on its last year of use. Our parks department staff has done an exceptional job taking that equipment past its usable life. ... It’s our opportunity now to take a look at that skate park and make something great.”

Smith said the life expectancy of the new equipment will be 20 years; the current equipment’s life expectancy was 10 years.

Council President Bill Wooldredge said the money being handled by the park board can only be used for park system expenses. A portion of the city’s income tax collection is allocated to the parks.

″[That money] cannot be used for fixing roads,” said Wooldredge.

Smith said 26 people visited a park board meeting earlier this year to talk about the planned renovation of the skate park. He estimated 15 to 18 of those visitors were from out-of-town and some drove two to three hours to attend the meeting.

“That’s never happened, not once, since I’ve been involved with the parks...said Smith. "...The passion in the room was amazing. We had people from 8 years old to people 56 years old, who have been skateboarding the better part of their lives.”

Smith said when he visited the skate park earlier this month, there were 22 people ranging in age from about 8 to 18 using the facility. He said only about five or six could use the skating area at any one time because “it’s too small.”

Council member Lisa Radigan said skate boarding will be an Olympic sport next year, which means she anticipates the level of participation will expand in upcoming years.

City Council in December 2018 approved a $25,865 contract with Grindline for design services for the project.

Jody Roberts, the city’s communications manager, said the construction project still needs to be bid, and does not have a time table on when that will happen.

Council is now on its summer break and will next meet on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Town Hall, 27 E. Main St.

 

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.