Group Zeroes in on Skate Park Site for Ocean City

first_img[ready_google_map id=’1′]A group of elected officials, city employees and local skaters is ready to recommend a site for a new skateboard park in Ocean City: a spot adjacent to the Ocean City Fire Department on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue.The choice is an important milestone in the effort to bring a skate park back to Ocean City.The city dismantled a park near Sixth Street and the Ocean City Boardwalk in 2011, citing safety concerns over deteriorating equipment. That park had opened in 2002 at a cost of a little more than $130,000.Since then, amid protests from local skaters, the city administration has promised to rebuild the park, and City Council has approved a capital plan that calls for spending $250,000 on the project. The parking lot adjacent to the Ocean City Fire Department on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue is the proposed site for a new skateboard park in Ocean City. The site is surrounded by the Ocean City Tabernacle, Ocean City Primary School and commercial properties.A group led by Councilman Mike DeVlieger and comprised of Councilman Michael Allegretto, Councilman Antwan McClellan, Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo, other administration members, and skateboarders and surfers from the community (young and old) has been researching different proposed sites.They have made road trips to other skate parks, solicited feedback from neighbors and studied the potential impact on an existing parking lot at the proposed site.The site they’re targeting is bounded by the Ocean City Fire Department headquarters, the Ocean City Tabernacle, the Ocean City Primary School and some commercial properties on Fifth Street (including the Gabriel Building Group).The group will solicit public input before it proceeds with a recommendation to the city for proceeding with a potential project.“Nothing’s done until it’s vetted by the community,” DeVlieger said.He said the group will be ready to make a “solid presentation” to City Council in the coming weeks (or at least within a month or two).A Facebook page — Petition for a Skate Park – OCNJ — seeks to rally support for the rebuilding of a park in Ocean City.The vision for the park includes using the $250,000 dedicated by the city as a foundation for a park that could potentially cost three times as much.The group envisions a concrete, state-of-the-art park geared toward “carvers.”DeVlieger said concrete construction can significantly reduce sound and provide a safer and less maintenance-intensive facility.“If done right, it should be something my grandchildren will be skating on some day,” he said.The group will seek grants (including Green Acres recreation funding) and private donations to supplement the city appropriation.“The end outcome will be a good template for future projects,” DeVlieger said.Any park would not be complete in 2014, but DeVlieger said the ultimate goal is to create a design that will stand the test of time. He said the final park will have to strike a balance of skating styles between carving and street skating.DeVlieger said that while the he would like to see the project move more quickly, the group will not be accused of not doing its homework.“We searched every possible lot on this island and did pros and cons,” he said.The proposed site is high-profile, accessible to police, close to  EMS services and has few residential neighbors.He said the group reached out not only to residents but to neighboring commercial properties. Businesses on Asbury Avenue are excited about the potential attraction. Ocean City Tabernacle President Rick Carlson also approves, DeVlieger said.The park could become a destination and a tourism anchor.“Ocean City was recently listed by Surfer magazine as a Top 10 surf town in the U.S.,” DeVlieger said. “It’s consistent with our culture.”Meanwhile, local skaters continue to rally support for the cause. See Petition for a Skateboard Park OCNJ on Facebook.__________Sign up for OCNJ Daily’s free newsletter“Like” us on Facebooklast_img

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