Skateboarders and participants of other extreme sports have something to look forward to as members of the Falmouth Skate Park Association announced that they hope to break ground on the new park in the fall.
The park, to be constructed on the same site as the current Trotting Park Field skate park, will be twice the size of the old one. After taking comment from local skateboarders, bicyclists, rollerbladers and others, Action Sports Designs, a New England company, has completed preliminary plans.
The committee has moved to the final phase of its fundraising goal. It will offer memorial tiles to be placed in the park, in order to fund accouterments to the park. A 4-inch by 8-inch tile sells for $250 and an 8-inch by 8-inch tile for $350. The funds from their sale will turn the park “from good to excellent,” said Dr. J. Keith Bleiler, a leading organizer of the redesign effort. He has seen the project through for the last seven years.
On Tuesday, August 19, the association received a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. It was important not only for the amount—$7,500— but also because the project will have the Tony Hawk stamp of approval, Dr. Bleiler said. Tony Hawk is one of the most popular pro skateboarders in the sport.
Dr. Bleiler had originally applied for $1,000 from the foundation. A representative called him back and told him to apply for more money because it was one of the best grants they had received, Dr. Bleiler recalled. They resubmitted the grant requesting $5,000, but were awarded with $7,500.
The new facility will feature an urban street-style section, a bowl, multiple lanes of travel, a rain garden in the middle of the park, a roller, and other additions. Dr. Bleiler said it will also feature more “flow” than the old. It will be approximately a half-acre. The association approached Action Sports Design with ideas for the park after a community forum held in 2008.
“Flow gives boarders the ability to use every surface of the park from almost every angle without a running start or without pushing,” Dr. Bleiler said. “You can get to all sections of the park with the speed you need to do a trick.” He said that most custom-designed parks are designed with flow in mind. “[Good flow] is more pleasing to the eye and way more pleasing to the mind and the body when you are skating,” he said.
To have their sights set on the fall, and the spring at the latest, is exciting and a relief for Dr. Bleiler. “It has been a long and strenuous project,” he said.
Dr. Bleiler is a long-time skateboarder himself and a urologist in Falmouth. He is what he called a skate tourist. While on vacation with his family, he will seek out skate parks in different cities. He hopes that the Falmouth park could attract similar tourists.
He described his recent visit to the Venice Beach, California, skate park in which visitors packed the outside of the arena to watch others skate. He said that there was no supervision, but a “mob of kids having a great time.” There will be areas to watch boarders in the Falmouth park as well.
The association has also received $185,000 in Community Preservation Act funds, $5,000 from the Kelley Foundation, $25,000 from the Lorusso Foundation, $1,000 from the Woods Hole Foundation, and $1,000 from both the Cape Cod Five Foundation and the Cape Cod Five Falmouth Fund.
Dr. Bleiler said that Sandra L. Cuny, Kathleen Jesperson, Ann Richards, David Chapman, and Timothy Cole, all of Falmouth; and Falmouth recreation director Helen E. Kennedy have all made the project happen. The Falmouth Skate Park Association is part of Falmouth, Together We Can, Inc., a nonprofit.
Dr. Bleiler said that some of his best memories of childhood came from his time skateboarding in Pennsylvania, when he and his friends would sneak into a local skate park. “There weren’t any coaches and no screaming parents. There was no out of bounds and no buzzer. And you’re outside,” he said. “Those are some of the happiest times I can remember as a kid.”