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Permanent Turners Falls skateboarding park in the works, volunteers plan temporary fun

  • Recorder file photo<br/>Skateboarders ride back down the high wall at the Montague Skate Park at Unity Park in Turners Falls<br/> in 2008.

    Recorder file photo
    Skateboarders ride back down the high wall at the Montague Skate Park at Unity Park in Turners Falls
    in 2008. Purchase photo reprints »

  • Barry Scott of Turners Falls launches off a ramp set up in the alley beside The Brick House Community Resource Center in a file photo. Turners Falls hopes to break ground on construction of a new skate park by late August. <br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)

    Barry Scott of Turners Falls launches off a ramp set up in the alley beside The Brick House Community Resource Center in a file photo. Turners Falls hopes to break ground on construction of a new skate park by late August.
    (Recorder/Micky Bedell) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Recorder file photo<br/>Skateboarders ride back down the high wall at the Montague Skate Park at Unity Park in Turners Falls<br/> in 2008.
  • Barry Scott of Turners Falls launches off a ramp set up in the alley beside The Brick House Community Resource Center in a file photo. Turners Falls hopes to break ground on construction of a new skate park by late August. <br/>(Recorder/Micky Bedell)

TURNERS FALLS — With a little grant luck and a lot of concrete, skateboarders could be rolling and jumping in a permanent skate park on the edge of Unity Park by next fall.

In the meantime there’s not much for skaters in the county or the town, a situation some hope to change with the revival of a temporary skate park by the future site of the concrete park off Third Street.

“What we’re trying to do is build some excitement and give (skaters) a place to be in anticipation of bringing a permanent skate park there to Unity Park,” said Rich Becker, current owner of land on which a temporary park stood for some time.

Becker, owner of multi-business umbrella River Station — the former Chick’s Automotive building at 151 Third St., former studio of artist Tim de Christopher — is ready and willing to lease his back lot to the town for $1, an arrangement that will allow the property to be covered by town insurance and free him from liability for any accidents.

One of Becker’s business tenants — Barry Scott of Turners Falls, proprietor of weekend skateboarding shop The Playground Skateshop — the Unity Skate Park Committee and other volunteers are preparing the space and the material.

Scott said he expects the park to be a sunrise to sunset, unsupervised park with temporary wooden ramps, and it’s users will be responsible for treating it respectfully.

Becker brought the proposal to the Board of Selectmen Monday, and said he is waiting on some paperwork to proceed, but the town has been very receptive.

Becker said it has been exciting to watch teens take charge of the space.

“One day I was just blown away by this group of teenagers — there was probably four or five — that mowed and cleared debris and just cleaned the place up,” he said. “When people give teenagers a hard time most of the time, it was just amazing to see them really pull together to do something for themselves, empower themselves.”

Ramps have appeared from back yards and storage, he said. The effort is all-volunteer, Becker said, and a fundraiser may be in the works to fund some final touches like lights or maintenance. Anyone interested in helping may contact Becker at 617-416-0717 or Scott at 413-306-9647.

Volunteers first built a skate park on the site in the late 1990s. The park closed in 2003 due to decaying ramps and was cleared away in 2008 to be resurrected, briefly, on Avenue A and 11th Street.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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