By Cindy Hoffman, Staff Writer
(Aug. 24, 2023) Cheers erupted from the crowd as the Berlin Town Council voted Monday to designate Heron Park’s parcel 410 as the future location of the Berlin Skatepark.
The unanimous vote reflected the opinion of the skatepark workgroup that met on July 31 to discuss the pros and cons of various proposed locations for the skatepark, including Henry Park, Stephen Decatur Park, Heron Park and the Worcester County Northern Athletic Complex.
The consensus was that Heron Park was the ideal location, the Parks Commission agreed and recommended it to the mayor and council.
“This is one giant step forward,” Mayor Zack Tyndall said of the decision.
Town Administrator Mary Bohlen clarified that this decision is a commitment to put the skatepark at Heron Park, with a consensus it be built on parcel 410.
“What is solid is it will be in Heron Park,” Tyndall said.
Added Tony Weeg of We Heart Berlin, “We see this as a phased project that fits in a bigger design of amenities at Heron Park for the residents of the Town of Berlin.”
Weeg said this location is enticing for many reasons, but a few are cost-saving.
“This ground is already compacted, and the area handles water on its own. The single most enticing part of this location choice is that we are specifically targeting an area that is already impervious, so we would not be adding any sort of net increase of impervious ground cover that would hinder stormwater handling,” he said.
“We look forward to the next steps and those would be actually designing the park pieces, and which pieces get built in which phases. The organization has partnered with Spohn Ranch to design and deliver construction documents.
Now that the council has made this decision, We Heart Berlin will start fundraising.The estimated cost for this project is just short of $1 million, according to Weeg.
“With this resolution/motion we can begin to approach foundations and other private donation sources to partner with us to help make this dream come true,” he said.
We Heart Berlin plans to raise as much of that as it can with strategic partners. Weeg encourages people to support the skatepark with a tax deductible donation at https://weheartberlin.org/pages/our-work
The Town of Berlin will also seek grant funds through the Community Parks and Playgrounds Program in the 2024 funding round.