Kicking it in the borough: Skate park proposal heard

The proposed location of a skateboard park can be seen at a playground near Hop Brook Elementary School on Crown Street in Naugatuck. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials are looking to develop a new skateboard park for residents.

Dave Peterson, owner of Rampage Skate Shop in Milford, presented a rendering of a proposed skate park at the Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting on Tuesday, May 3. The business offers products for skateboards and builds skate parks.

Parks and Recreation officials propose to install a roughly 8,000-square-foot concrete skate park on Crown Street next to Hop Brook Elementary School. There is an existing playground on the site.

A preliminary rendering includes a half-pipe, some rails and ledges, part of a street course and a skate bowl.

Parks and Recreation secretary Emily Osterberg said the borough owns the playground next to the school.

“The idea with Hop Brook is that it is close enough to downtown without being downtown,” she said. “It’s near Big Y, which has food and drinks.”

Osterberg said Parks and Recreation officials feel it’s the best location compared to other options, such as Cedar Park on Water Street and Salem Playground on Meadow Street. All of the local businesses in the area of Hop Brook playground could benefit from kids who use the skate park, she added.

Public works Superintendent Sandra Lucas-Ribeiro said the proposed location is flat and large.
The park wouldn’t affect the school because kids would be in school during the day. The park would be closed at night.

The borough originally had a skate park at Linden Park but removed it several years ago on the recommendation of its insurance company. The park was outdated, falling apart and missing pieces. It was built in 2002 with a $70,000 state grant as part of a $1 million project to upgrade Linden Park. Lucas-Ribeiro said people were constantly moving pieces of the old skate park around, such as the ramps, and that caused damage to occur more quickly.

The estimated cost for the new park is about $200,000, Recreation Director Kim Eyre said.

Peterson said he’s been building skate parks for 22 years in places such as New Britain, Newington, the Bronx across from Yankee Stadium and Arizona. The previous park was built by a playground company, he noted.

Naugatuck Police Chief Colin McAllister speaks to the media during a news conference. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

“A lot of these ideas that are in this (proposed) park are a like wish list from people I know that live in this area,” said Peterson, who has been skateboarding since 1991.

Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said he “would like to see some more input from the public on it,” including the borough’s younger residents.

Police Chief Colin McAllister said it’s feasible to have cameras at the proposed location for safety precautions.

Peterson said the project could take under six weeks from the first shovel in the ground to completion.

Hess advised Parks and Recreation officials to talk to members of the community who skateboard.

“If we do it, we’re going to do it in conjunction with the street department and our construction crews,” he said, “and get the best bang for the buck and the best project that we can that is indestructible and what kids want.”