Skate park plans move forward

Holmes Beach skate park concept new
This proposed design for the new Holmes Beach skate park includes the already approved plaza section as well as an optional bowl section. - Submitted

HOLMES BEACH – The city’s current skate park may be going away but a new one is in the works, one that includes a 5,000 square-foot plaza section and may even have a skating bowl if funds can be raised.

City engineer Lynn Burnett and American Ramp Company lead designer Tito Porrata appeared before commissioners Dec. 11 to present a concept design for the new Holmes Beach skate park. The design was met with overwhelming approval by city commissioners and the local skateboarding community.

“I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality of this design,” Commissioner Jim Kihm said.

Porrata presented a design for a 5,000 square-foot plaza with a quarter pipe, flat rails, pyramids and ledges for skaters to practice on. The plaza is set to be created primarily of cement with some different materials used for various skating elements. Rather than fencing in the park, he suggested using a natural fence created by landscaping that would allow police officers to see into the park from the road but also trap any wayward skateboards and help protect skaters from wayward vehicles that might find their way off the roadway. He also presented an idea for an additional skating area, a 2,000 square-foot, three to four feet deep skating bowl placed over the existing retention pond at the corner of Marina Drive near city hall.

Holmes Beach skate park Marina Drive
This view shows how the proposed layout for the new plaza-style skate park will look when gazing to the north down Marina Drive. – Submitted

While the design and construction of the plaza area are projected to cost $150,000, taking the city’s entire available budget for the skate park, the bowl would cost another $100,000. To install the additional section, Burnett said the city would either have to acquire the additional funds through grants or fundraising, ideally before construction is finished on the plaza section to eliminate additional mobilization costs. Construction on the plaza is expected to be complete by the end of 2019.

Local skateboarder Jack Coleman said he thinks the proposed new park will be amazing. “If the bowl is added,” he said, “I’ll have zero reason to leave the Island ever.”

Another local skateboarder Matt Bauer said he likes the bowl transition but if that doesn’t come to fruition, he still approves of the new plaza design for the skate park. “It’s a great design,” he said. “I’m stoked. This is awesome.”

“I am stoked as well,” Mayor Judy Titsworth said, “and I’m not a skater.” She added that her nephews who are skaters are happy commissioners are considering the bowl addition.

Commissioners approved the plaza design along with the bowl design and gave Burnett the green light to move forward in the design phase with the caveat that construction of the bowl can be added at a later date if the funds are raised. Commissioner Kim Rash suggested pursuing grants, fundraising and also potential business or residential sponsorship of different park elements to help raise the additional $100,000 for the bowl.

With commission approval for the new park, Burnett said she would move forward with the demolition of the current skate park, which will become a staging area, move construction equipment from the current staging area by the small dog park and begin work on the dog park and skate park.

Kihm said that after all of the discussion, he’s “glad to see things moving to the implementation phase.”

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