Grassroots Berlin Skate Park Efforts Continue

BERLIN– A grassroots endeavor to bring a skate park to Berlin continues with efforts to make the facility a reality.

Representatives from We Heart Berlin, the nonprofit working to raise money for a Berlin skate park, had discussions with designers and specialists this week and is set to meet with the Berlin Parks Commission next week. Tony Weeg, founder of We Heart Berlin, said he was encouraged by the conversations held Tuesday.

“The big takeaway is we’re doing a lot of the right things already,” he said.

Weeg said We Heart Berlin participated in two meetings Tuesday – one with a geological expert and one with a park designer. The geologist, who has worked with other municipalities regarding skate parks, has agreed to provide services pro bono to Berlin.

“That’s huge,” Weeg said, adding that expert had helped develop skate parks before and would be able to help guide the town through creating a cohesive project.

In the conversation with the park designer, Weeg said nonprofit representatives discussed park designs, pre-build considerations, early-stage planning and stormwater management.

“We’re going to meet with at least two other park designers,” Weeg said.

Councilman Jack Orris was among those who participated in the phone conference with the designer.

“I went in with an open mind and asked questions mainly about stormwater,” he said. “Wherever the location, if we can incorporate effective stormwater maintenance, such as a rain garden or something to that effect, I think would be a welcome addition for the whole stormwater management system in town.”

He added that a skate park had been talked about for at least five years and praised We Heart Berlin members for doing their homework and approaching the town with information.

Weeg said the bottom line at both meetings was that the town needed to determine where the skate park would be located in order to proceed with planning. A survey conducted by We Heart Berlin found that of 260 people surveyed, more than 95% of respondents wanted a BMX and skate park in Berlin. While most suggested Heron Park as the best site for a skate park, Weeg said that might not be an option if the town sells the bulk of it.

Weeg will attend the Sept. 6 Berlin Parks Commission meeting. While he’s not sure exactly what will occur there, he’s hopeful the town will soon settle on a location for a skate park. Once it does, We Heart Berlin can begin fundraising for the actual construction of the park. Included in the meeting packet is the recently-completed feasibility study by SU’s BEACON.

“We’re doing the best we can to educate the mayor and the town council and bring the right people to the table,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.