Community invited to assist with mural at Saratoga Springs skatepark

Saratoga Springs City Hall
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Saratoga Springs City Hall

SARATOGA SPRINGS – A community mural will be created at the Saratoga Springs East Side Recreational Skatepark Saturday.

On Deck Saratoga has partnered with the Saratoga Springs Recreation Department and the Spring Street Gallery, and invites local and regional community members, skaters, artists and families to participate in the art making Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m.

The property is shared by the City of Saratoga Springs and the school district, On Deck Saratoga cofounder Belinda Colón said. She explained there have been some challenges with some of the things created on the skate park ramps in recent years.

“It has gotten to the point where some of the city and school officials were feeling like it was a bit of an eye sore,” Colón said. “We were asked to try to help deter some of the graffiti. We can’t really do that, we can’t be there all the time, so one of the suggestions we made was to create artwork that can be relatable to the community.”

Artist and cofounder of On Deck Saratoga Benj Gleeksman will be creating outlines on the ramps which will include some geometrical shapes and playful illustrated characters Colón said. She explained there will be spaces where the community will be able to come in and create their own characters or words or expressions to connect them to the skatepark as part of the mural.

The art event will create a temporary visual addition for the skatepark’s metal ramps before the park receives its upgrade. In August 2021, the Saratoga Springs City Council voted to allocate $265,000 towards construction of a new skate park at the East Side Recreation Complex. In June, the city council approved and additional $140,000 to help cover the increased costs of materials to create a poured-in-place concrete skatepark, with $71,000 of that coming from crowdsourcing and fundraising coordinated by On Deck Saratoga.

“It’s open to everyone in the region who wants to support this municipal skate park,” Colón said. “We hope that this can be a pilot or some kind of recognized model for others who feel like maybe they are having the same challenges with their skateparks.”

On Deck does not believe expressions of street art are something that should be consisdered an eyesore, Colón said. She explained she understands that this property is owned by the city and the school district and they feel this could be a good model for other communities.

“It’s a pretty easy way to get the community together,” Colón said. “It’s a good way to get the community to own the location and hopefully to have the young people who get involved to feel proud of what they created.”

People interested in participating in Saturday’s event should notify On Deck Saratoga at [email protected] so they can ensure they have enough supplies for everyone. The rain date for Saturday’s event will be Sunday, Aug. 21.

On Deck has been working towards the creation of a modern, fully concrete skatepark at the East Side Recreation field for the past 10 years. It has hosted art shows, held fundraising events, offered skateboarding lessons and free outdoor movies in an effort to raise awareness and support for the local skateboarding community.

A presentation about the proposed skate park improvements was given to the city council in June. John Hirliman, the city’s administrative director of recreation, explained the new park will be designed to be able to be used by skateboarders of all abilities, from beginners to those who are more advanced. He said the poured concrete park will last longer, and is safer than metal and wooden ramps, and requires less maintenance and upkeep over time.

Categories: News, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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