SARATOGA SPRINGS — The skateboard park at the city’s East Side Recreation Field has been around, believe it or not, for more than 30 years.
In 1989, the concrete skate bowl was the first municipal skateboard park in New York state, but the facility has aged and ideas about skateparks have evolved as other communities have developed bowls, halfpipes, quarter-pipes and other features.
Now, the skatepark is in for its most extensive reimagining since it was created. Skateboarders and other members of the public will have a chance to offer their thoughts on the plans on Wednesday. Plans calls for a conceptual design for the installation of a new skatepark to replace the existing one.
The city earlier this year hired Pillar Design Studios of Chandler, Arizona, which specializes in active sports facilities like skateboard parks, to come up with new designs for the aging facility, at a cost of $36,805.
The planning is going ahead even though the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has stressed city finances, raising questions about how soon any new construction would be pursued.
With the city looking to cover a nearly $8 million reduction in anticipated 2021 revenue, the tentative 2021 city budget calls for eliminating funding next year for all recreation programs other than the summer youth program, but recreation program advocates are organizing to make a case for funding at this Tuesday’s City Council meeting at 7 p.m. in City Hall.
This year, the skatepark was closed for the entire season because of other construction taking place at the East Side fields, and skateboarding advocates have urged enthusiasts to be patient through the city design process.
The East Side Recreation Field on Lake Avenue is owned by the Saratoga Springs City School District, but is operated by the city Recreation Department under a long-term contract.
The Skateboard Design Meeting is slated for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the City Council chambers, with advanced registration required because of the limited seating and COVID-19 social distancing restrictions in the council chamber. The meeting will be webcast on the city’s website, and recorded for future viewing.