With Complex Project Shelved, Focus On Skate Park Safety

OCEAN CITY – With the expansion of the Ocean Bowl Skate Park and the construction of the Downtown Recreation Complex officially on hold, the Recreation and Parks Department has decided to take a closer look at the quality of the current skate park.

In a Recreation and Parks meeting Tuesday morning, Tom Shuster, director of Recreation and Parks, explained that the expansion of the skate park would have included a rehabilitation of the current skate park, a facelift that still needs examining despite the delay of the overall project.

“It appears now that its unlikely that in the next fiscal year that that project is going to move forward,” Shuster said of the skate park expansion.

The downtown recreation project, which included the expansion of the current Ocean Bowl Skate Park on 3rd Street, was recently taken off the list of projects going to bond for the next fiscal year The project’s removal was a result of a 15-year lease agreement proposed by the county. The lease agreement fell short of the town’s request for a long-term lease of at least 20 years. The City Council recently removed what it classified as one of the top projects on the list, postponing the project indefinitely until a better lease agreement could be met.

In the meantime, there are aspects of the current skate park bowl and ramps that need to be addressed, Shuster said.

“We just want it to be safe,” said Councilman and committee member Jim Hall, agreeing that until the overall project could be completed, minor changes and improvements needed to be addressed.

Shuster pointed out that there are minor bowl renovations, such as cracks, that need to be looked at. The wood and screws on the ramps also need to be assessed and may call for new sheets of steel and screws.

There are two options for improvements. Recreation and Parks could make an estimate and utilize the operating budget for repair costs or they could make an estimate and hold off for bond sales next fall.

Shuster added that they would most likely not close any part of the skate park down for any repairs until the fall of 2008.