BERLIN– Stephen Decatur Park is the most feasible location for a skate park in Berlin, according to industry professionals.
Spohn Ranch, the company hired by We Heart Berlin to review locations and design a skateboarding facility for Berlin, identified Stephen Decatur Park as the most suitable location for a skate park in a draft report last week. The Tripoli Street space ranked just slightly ahead of Henry Park.
“We are extremely excited,” said Tony Weeg, founder of We Heart Berlin. “It’s another step in the process.”
Representatives from Spohn Ranch visited Berlin earlier this year to review Henry Park, Heron Park and Stephen Decatur Park as potential skate park locations. They looked at things like visibility, accessibility, amenities and surrounding environment to rate the three parks. Out of 60 possible points, Decatur Park scored 43 while Henry Park scored 37 and Heron Park scored 30.
“It was really close between Henry Park and Stephen Decatur Park,” Weeg said. “I do think it’ll end up being at Decatur Park because I think that’s where the people who are most vocal about it want it.”
According to Weeg, Stephen Decatur Park scored higher because of accessibility. At Henry Park, an ADA walkway would need to be built from the parking lot to the back portion of the park where a skate park could be built.
“It’d be harder for emergency crews to get to that,” Weeg said.
In contrast, at Stephen Decatur Park, the skateboarding infrastructure could be built adjacent to the parking lot near the pond. While the actual elements for Berlin’s skate park haven’t been selected yet, the concept drawing Spohn Ranch shows at Stephen Decatur Park features a flow bowl on one side, a street section in the middle and a pump track on the other side. Berlin’s park will likely be done in phases, with the street section and entire site stormwater occurring first.
Now that the potential locations have been reviewed, Weeg said We Heart Berlin would provide some feedback to Spohn Ranch before representatives come back to Berlin and make a presentation.
“Once that (location) decision is made the next part of the process is design,” Weeg said.
He added that while the report from Spohn Ranch is an exciting step toward bringing a facility to town, another key piece occurred at the March 27 council meeting. Town officials agreed to include the skate park on Berlin’s Program Open Space Annual Program for Development and to list it among the capital projects the town is pursuing on Worcester County’s Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan (LPPRP).
“The biggest thing is the town giving it the credence it needs on the LPPRP and the POS wish list,” Weeg said. “Being that it’s now written down as a priority, we might be able to get funds we weren’t counting on. This is like a dream come true.”
The Berlin skate park is expected to cost around $800,000, according to the Spohn report, while additional amenities like seating, lighting and landscaping would bring the total cost to about $1 million. The project is expected to be done in phases as funding allows.