BERLIN – Town officials again talked about the potential for a skate park this week.
In the wake of a discussion of potentially selling one or more portions of Heron Park, council members again brought up the issue of a skate park. Councilman Jay Knerr said he wanted to see the town make some efforts after the police department offered the first $1,000 toward the effort.
“We have to start somewhere,” he said.
Knerr said that since the issue came up last month, he’d done some research regarding Salisbury’s skateboarding facility. He said the city had received more than $400,000 in Community Parks and Playgrounds grants to help set up a skate park.
“With that they’ve been able to build a 10,000 square foot skate park,” he said. “It’s like the Super Bowl of skate parks.”
He said that Salisbury’s experience showed that there was funding out there to help the project.
“It’d be nice to see Berlin get started on this project,” he said.
Deputy Town Administrator Mary Bohlen said the town applied for a Community Parks and Playgrounds grant each year. Its most recent grant applications have focused on getting funding to help bring permanent restrooms to Stephen Decatur Park.
“We have to prioritize the projects we want to apply for,” she said.
She added that the town also had to spend some money to get the data to include on its application, such as the potential design and cost of a project.
“It will cost some money upfront,” she said.
When Knerr asked if the town could apply for funding for more than one project at once, Bohlen said that was not recommended.
“They don’t care to see projects spread all over town,” she said.
Mayor Zack Tyndall said Knerr’s questions were part of a larger discussion on grants as a whole. He said that in talking to Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells he’d realized that the town should really have a dedicated grant writer.
“I’ve seen some municipalities in our area acquire a grant funded position for somebody whose sole purpose is to write grants,” he said. “That is something we’re looking in to.”
Tyndall added that as far as a short-term skateboarding fix, the town had reached out to the individuals who’d brought pop-up skateboarding events to Berlin in the past. He said doing it again would be possible but that volunteers would be needed.
“There is still a sense for doing that but there is a lot of labor that goes into it,” he said.