Revamping the skatepark won’t be cheap

By on January 18, 2018

5th Pocket Skateparks, which met with Lititz skaters at the recCenter last week, recently developed this park concept for Lansdale Borough in Montgomery County.

After nearly a dozen years of kickflips and ollies, the Lititz Skatepark is getting ready to learn a few new tricks.

Since the park was built, its metal ramps have fallen into disrepair. They are hard to maintain. Skaters have to move the pieces around to keep the action going.

So, on Jan. 11, nearly 50 skateboarders gathered at the Lititz recCenter to share their ideas, put in their design suggestions and learn more about plans of the Lancaster County Skatepark Association to improve the Lititz attraction.

“The skatepark in Lititz currently consists of old, falling apart, difficult to maintain metal ramps,” said Rob Reed, a skatepark enthusiast who is development director at Lancaster Science Factory. “We are beginning the process of replacing the old metal park with a new, poured-in-place concrete skatepark that will last for decades.”

Reed has taken on the role of organizer for the skatepark revamping and is working with Jesse Clayton, owner and designer at 5th Pocket Skateparks. It’s Clayton who will be taking all the ideas and transforming them into a fun, long-lasting park with all the features the users could want.

“We want your input into what you want,” said Reed, as he passed out design idea sheets to those attending the meeting.

Clayton has designed some 40 skateparks in his lifetime, with about 12 of them through 5th Pocket Skateparks in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware area. He’s pretty enthusiastic about what his company can do for Lititz.

Of course, revamping a skatepark isn’t cheap.

“We might be looking at as much as $250,000 for a new poured-concrete dreampark. It usually costs $30 to $40 per square foot, and we’re looking at 10,000 to 12,000 square feet, so it could be even more,” he said.

The goal right now is to raise $100,000 toward the park. Reed is hoping to get businesses, local municipalities, organizations, and skateboarders on board. He thinks it will be a great addition to Lititz area recreation.

The Parks & Wreck Fest is one of the first fundraisers planned for the skatepark, with a line-up of local bands at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster on Feb. 3. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 on the day of the show.

“It’s going to take a lot more than concerts and bake sales,” admitted Reed. “We’re hoping to get some big sponsors to get this going.”

In the meantime, organizers want to find out what kind of skatepark the skaters want. Should it be a street park with 50 percent street obstacles, 25 percent flow obstacles. and 25 percent transition obstacles? Would a flow park be a better option, with 50 percent flow obstacles, 25 percent street obstacles. and 25 percent transition obstacles? The other option is a transition park with 50 percent transition obstacles, 25 percent street obstacles, and 25 percent flow obstacles.

Those attending the meeting were asked to check off the two skatepark layouts they liked best. Then they got to pick from 15 different obstacles that they would like to see in the Lititz Skatepark.

“I’d like to have a clam shell pocket and a quarter pipe,” said Ryan Kunkle, 12, who came to the meeting with his father. “A pyramid hip and a pump bump would be good too. The park is really in bad shape and needs to be improved.”

Thirteen-year-old Bo Krasnai is hoping for an A-frame, manny pad ledge, and quarter pipe.

“I don’t skate anymore myself,” said his father Ed Krasnai. “But from the moment Bo starting coming to the skatepark he fell in love with it. It’s a great group of kids and they have a lot of fun.”

Interestingly, the “kids” at the meeting were not all kids. They ranged in age from eight to over 50. Many are in their 20s and 30s and work at local companies like Tait Towers and Rock Lititz. Others live in the Central Pennsylvania area and travel around to skateparks in York, Reading, and Lancaster.

“Jesse’s parks are really fun and it will be great to have a poured concrete park here in Lititz,” said J.D. Turner, 28, president of Reading Skateparks. “I think a street park would be great for Lititz to provide a good balance. They have the space.”

Clayton pointed out that because the location of the current skatepark, near Warwick High School, is in the floodplain, all obstacles would have to be built upward. The location of the park, which is on Lititz Borough property, might be moved to a site closer to the Lititz Springs Pool. That hasn’t been determined yet.

“I think Lititz needs a new design. The skatepark is in poor condition. It needs to be improved,” said Lititz Borough Police Chief Kerry Nye.

Nye came out to hear about plans for the park, which he thought had been built around 10 to 12 years ago, located first at the waterworks, then moved nearby. Safety has been a big concern, and signs are posted to remind skaters to wear protective helmets and full protective gear.

“As far as I know, there have been no liability claims made at the skatepark,” said Nye, adding that the skaters are “pretty respectful for the most part” when police stop by.

Before the park was built, business owners and retailers complained about teens doing skateboarding tricks all over town, added Nye. Having a designated skatepark has been a big improvement.

Reed and Clayton are hoping to come up with a plan that will be an improvement over the current skatepark. Once they have a plan lined up, the next part will be even trickier: figuring out how to pay for it.

Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Record Express. She can be reached at lknowles21@gmail.com.

One Comment

  1. Rob Reed

    January 18, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    If you’re interested in supporting this project and can’t make it to Parks & Wreck Fest on February 3rd, you can make a tax deductible gift through the Skatepark Association’s fund with the Lancaster County Community Foundation. https://www.lancfound.org/fund/lancaster-county-skatepark-fund/

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