The final design of a new Ann Arbor skatepark, to be located in the northwest corner of Veterans Memorial Park, has been approved by the city council. The city’s park advisory commission had unanimously recommended approval of the proposed design at its Dec. 18, 2012 meeting. [.pdf of skatepark design] The city council’s vote approving the skatepark design came at its Jan. 7, 2013 meeting.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2013, with a goal of completing the project by the fall.
The park, expected to cost about $1 million, was designed by Wally Hollyday. In July of 2012, the Ann Arbor city council had authorized a $89,560 contract with his firm, Wally Hollyday Skateparks, for the design and construction oversight of the skatepark. City council action on the skatepark at that location dates back to a Dec. 1, 2008 approval of a memorandum of intent. [.pdf of memorandum of intent]
The roughly $1 million project – including an anticipated $100,000 endowment for ongoing maintenance – will be financed through a combination of funds. Those include private donations – primarily solicited through the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark – as well as a $300,000 state grant, and up to $400,000 in matching funds from the Washtenaw County parks and recreation commission. The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation is acting as fiduciary.
The design includes a wide variety of skateboarding features – including bowls and pools; banked, Hubba and cantilevered ledges; and slappy curbs. Landscaped areas and rain gardens are located throughout the park, which will also serve as stormwater management elements. The design includes a small stage, which could be used for skateboarding demonstrations as well as other community performances. Organizers also hope to incorporate concrete “skateable artwork” on the site.
Two residents who live near Veterans Memorial Park spoke against the location during public commentary at PAC’s Dec. 12 meeting, saying they hadn’t been informed before the site was selected. They also referred to a petition of about 20 other residents who opposed the location, including the owners of Knight’s Restaurant, which is located across from the proposed skatepark. They were concerned about noise, maintenance, safety and other issues that they felt hadn’t been adequately addressed.
Later in that PAC meeting Colin Smith, the city’s parks and recreation manager, reviewed the history of the project starting in 2007, including a listing of forums with neighbors, which he described as well-attended, and public hearings at PAC and city council. He later showed The Chronicle a receipt for a mailing sent to neighbors in 2008, notifying them about the proposal in its very early stages.
Trevor Staples, chair of the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, also spoke to PAC and noted that the group would be holding a retreat later this winter to discuss their future mission, indicating that they’d be involved in ongoing support for the skatepark. Part of the MOI with the city stipulates that 10% of fundraising for the skatepark is being set aside for future maintenance.
No one spoke against the skatepark at the Jan. 7 city council meeting, and several councilmembers praised the project.
This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]