By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(April 6, 2023) Stephen Decatur Park looks like the most likely candidate for a skate park after developer Spohn Ranch recommended it over Dr. William Henry Park in a report it released to We Heart Berlin last week.
“It feels incredible to finally have some professional eyes on Berlin from a skate park point of view and see these various pieces of the puzzle come together,” We Heart Berlin founder Tony Weeg said Monday. “I’m thankful for a mayor and council in support of this and that always helps.”
Weeg said he’s also excited about the Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan (LPPRP) prospects for funding, with the town already listing the skate park as its top priority for the grant money.
“(There is also) the county’s Program Open Space and state dollars on the horizon now that we are on that list,” Weeg said. “At this point, once the council votes on where to put it, we will begin the big fundraising at that point.”
Spohn Ranch judged possible locations on a 60-point criterion. Points included challenges for putting concrete in the ground, proximity to parking lots, bathrooms, preexisting lighting and power infrastructure, accessibility to emergency vehicles and centrality to the town.
Decatur Park scored 43 and Henry Park scored 37.
Weeg said the biggest consideration in-town is watershed and stormwater management, that those factors lead the way in how the process is managed.
“That’s our biggest worry in how that is handled and making sure we’ve thought of every step of the way,” he said.
The study by Spohn Ranch stated that demolition at Decatur Park would be minimal and that a 14,000-square-foot skate park could fit on the east side of the park.
“But depending on the design, it may need to split up into a secondary area on the west side of the path,” the report continued.
The report also noted that there would be at least 300 feet and a “robust tree line” buffer between the skate park and residences.
Renderings for a Decatur Park skate park also included a pump track for all wheeled activities.
Weeg added that those who are interested in donating to the project can do so by visiting https://weheartberlin.org/pages/our-work.