Plans to develop the Rochester Municipal Park Active Zone at Jaycee Park that would feature the addition of a new skatepark plaza were well received on Monday, October 22, by Rochester City Council members.
The plans, which have been in the long-term planning stage for several years, were presented for the first time by the city's Skatepark Leadership Advisory Team (SPLAT) at the city council meeting. Plans for the Active Zone include upgrading the current baseball diamond and basketball courts at Jaycee Park by adding a world class skatepark and sand volleyball courts, as well as picnic and shade areas.
SPLAT member and former Rochester Mayor Cathy Daldin said the proposed skatepark would be designed as a "street plaza," where skateparks designed to mimic the type of structures found in an urban environment.
"This is the initial design, and the team isn't married to it," Daldin said while presenting the concept plan to council. The presentation included slides of other skateparks in the state, including those in Ann Arbor, Armada, Detroit, Bay City, Grand Haven and other locations.
Street plazas are modern skateparks that strive to create a space that doesn't resemble traditional skateparks by incorporating structural and cosmetic enhancements such as concrete with atypical textures or materials, such as brick or natural stone, as well as integrating small green spaces into the skate space.
SPLAT estimates the one-time cost to build the 22,000 square-foot park would be about $800,000, as estimated in July 2017 by Spohn Ranch Skateparks. That cost includes about $39,000 for design and engineering; $73,000 for general construction requirements; $123,000 for earthwork/site preparation; $492,000 for concrete elements; $52,000 for steel fabrication; and $21,000 for turf restoration.
In addition to one-time costs, the advisory team estimates annual maintenance would run about $5,600 per year. That estimate includes inspection of drains, expansion joints, concrete, weldments and general cleanup by municipal staff at a rate of $35 per hour for about four hours per week during 40 weeks of operation.
SPLAT members presented conceptual plans to city council on October 22, with a request that council authorize the team to begin fundraising efforts. Council unanimously approved the request, with councilman Ben Giovanelli absent.
The fundraising campaign is expected to start in February of 2019. Fundraising will be done in coordination with the Rochester Community Foundation.
Councilwoman Kim Russell said she was in favor of the project and hoped that SPLAT would keep council updated, and have a way to measure their fundraising progress. "My vision here is larger than a skatepark," she said. "We have two ball diamonds there. That's such a cool property there. We've also been throwing around the idea of a splash pad and what that could be like. My vision is to incorporate all of that. Your piece is the skate park, and I think there will be a lot with that with coming into the Olympics. I think that will get a lot of play."
Skateboarding will make its Olympic debut in 2020 in Tokyo with park and street competitions for men and women.
Rochester-area student Ian Green said he believes having a skate park in Rochester would give the city a chance to host events at a central location, as well as provide a place for more people in the community.
"The downtown area – skateboarders and others on locomotion with wheels – people aren't exactly happy with us participating in our activities in downtown Rochester, nor is it exactly legal," Green said. "This would allow you to be able to host events and have a central location, rather than wandering around the city."