Skating on elsewhere: Naugatuck residents air concerns for location of proposed park

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A portion of Linden Park where the proposed skateboard park would be located can be seen on Wednesday, June 8. Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

By Andreas Yilma Citizen’s News

NAUGATUCK — Borough officials are changing the proposed skateboard park location from near Hop Brook Elementary School after some concerns from residents.

Parks and Recreation officials initially proposed to install a roughly 8,000-square-foot concrete skate park on Crown Street next to Hop Brook Elementary School. The proposed location has an existing playground but has since been challenged.

Public Works Superintendent Sandra Lucas-Ribeiro said in a recent meeting that the original location on Crown Street seemed to be ideal because it was already fenced in, had a flat surface and the location was in between the two sides of the borough for children’s access.

“We have since been told that there is concern with it being there from some residences that reached to the Mayor’s office,” Lucas-Ribeiro said. “We had a large number of objections for the Hoop Brook location for the skateboard park from the condominium association, some individual people living there and some people on Crown Street,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved to install a new skateboard park at Linden Park and install a splash pad at original proposed location playground site next to Hop Brook Elementary School.

Dave Peterson, owner of Rampage Skate Shop in Milford, previously gave a presentation presented for a proposed skate park at the Board of Mayor and Burgesses meeting in May.

The business offers products for skateboards and builds skate parks.

Lucas-Ribeiro said borough officials looked at Cedar Park but the space was too small so they went back to the original location at Linden Park.

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 The park was outdated, falling apart and missing pieces.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.

N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess. Archive

People were constantly moving pieces of the old skate park around, such as the ramps, and that caused damage to occur more quickly according to Lucas-Ribeiro.

Lucas-Ribeiro said officials didn’t want to sacrifice the parking lot again because it’s much needed and sometimes not enough when there are games and sports over there on the weekends.

The borough would remove two thirds of the tennis courts right next to the basketball court and relocate a tennis court or two pickle ball courts according to Lucas-Ribeiro.

Borough officials and Peterson held a well attended meeting at the Loaded Goat on Church Street where skaters and other people gave their opinions, according to Hess.

“We wanted to make sure that the design of the skateboard project park met the needs and the desires of our users,” Hess said.

Peterson took all the ideas and concepts of what the borough wanted and put it into a revised skateboard park that meets these dimensions, according to Hess.

“I’m going to say 100% of the younger generation and everyone else that we spoke to speaks very highly of Dave and Rampage and his company and he’s eager to do the project within our budget,” Hess said.

Recreation Department Secretary Emily Osterberg said skaters kept mentioning Lynden Park when they met with borough officials.

“They really did appreciate that location,” Osterberg said. “We would be loosing tennis courts here. We have underutilized courts elsewhere, Baummer Pond, Naugatuck High School, the middle school. It’s not like we would be loosing tennis courts in its entirety.”

There is already a camera at Linden Park that borough officials can tack on to the camera system according to Lucas-Ribeiro.

Hess said borough officials met with police officials who said they prefer Linden Park for the skateboard park.

“Linden Park did have a lot benefits over the other location as we do have preexisting camera there and we could build off a preexisting infrastructure as well too,” Police Chief Colin McAllister said.

Hess asked Public Works Director to draw up a preliminary construction agreement with Rampage Skate Shop for the specifications and the plan for a sum not to exceed $250,000.

Burgess Dorothy Neth-Kunin said she liked the change of location.

“I actually like the idea of Lynden Park as well because of the camera system for the skateboard park and I think it makes a lot of sense for a splash pad at hop brook because of the demographics,” Neth-Kunin said.