Greenfield seeks PARC grant to help fund skate park; construction expected in 2023

  • The upper parking lot between Chapman and Davis streets in Greenfield is the proposed location for a new skate park. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 6/9/2021 7:29:39 PM

GREENFIELD — The city is preparing to submit its application for a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant to support the design and construction of a skate park.

The new skate park — which would replace the former 17,000-square-foot skate park at the back of what is now the Olive Street Apartments — is proposed for the upper section of the Chapman and Davis Street parking lot.

“We’ve been advocating for a new skate park for many years,” Recreation Director Christy Moore said at a project update meeting on Tuesday night. “I’m happy the new administration and City Council is in support of us applying for this PARC grant, and I’m hoping that we’ll be successful and that we’ll be able to build this for our community.”

The two-year PARC grant, which could be awarded in late fall or early winter, would fund the design phase in fiscal year 2022, with construction beginning July 1, 2023.

“We’re hoping and expecting to receive the maximum award amount, which is $400,000, which is what we received last time we applied,” Moore said.

The total estimated cost of the skate park project is $775,000, she said, which the city expects to fully fund with the PARC grant, a city match (capital funding) of $350,000, and donations and fundraising.

Moore outlined plans for a signature art piece, as well as a potential graffiti wall, and a focus on green architecture. The skate park itself will be approximately 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of “poured-in-place concrete.”

“It will meet all of our needs, from beginners to those who are more advanced,” she said.

Precinct 5 City Councilor Tim Dolan and others emphasized the importance of soliciting and including the opinions of those who will ultimately be using the skate park.

“When I think about a project like this — and I’m really excited about this project — I value the opinions of the core people in town who are going to use it,” Dolan said, asking Moore how the Recreation Department will gather feedback from residents.

Moore responded that once the grant is awarded, the first step would be to hire a designer, and then hold a series of public meetings.

Some people at Tuesday’s meeting spoke in particular to “vetting” the designer chosen, though Moore clarified that ultimately, the procurement process laid out by the state will need to be followed — in other words, the city would send out a request for proposals, then review and select from the bidders.

Resident Mary Chicoine, a member of the Greenfield Tree Committee, asked about the trees that would be on site as well as the amenities that would be included as part of the design.

Moore said there would be water bubbler and water fill stations, possibly a sprinkler system, and at least initially, porta-potties. There could also be benches and other seating incorporated in the design.

“The designs do have trees, but … when there’s leaf debris and whatnot on the skating space, that’s hazardous for (skaters), so most of the trees have to be on the outside of the park,” Moore said.

In addition to speaking to the importance of including the voices of skaters in the selection of a designer, as well as the design process, members of the skating community asked how they could help, and whether it’s time to start fundraising.

“We can get that momentum going. We can help a lot with this project,” Bryan Dolan said. “Should we start holding events, should we start raising money?”

Moore said so far, $24,000 has been raised thanks to a “generous donor” and other small fundraisers.

“By all means, let’s get it going,” she responded. “It’s time now.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.




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