Skate park planning continues

December 04, 2013
BETHLEHEM — The cold weather and some snow have not diminished the interest in a new outdoor skateboard park in town. Several pieces of the puzzle continue to be discussed and assembled.

Fallon O'Brien, one of the leaders in the plan to create the new park, provided an update via phone on Monday. The current vision for the site, located south of the town's basketball courts, include dividing the old concrete foundation into two parts. The town is developing an ice skating plan, with O'Brien's group working on the skateboard area.

The skate park effort took in more than $1,200 at a fundraising event last month. Several bands performed at the Colonial Theatre in what was dubbed Skate, Rattle, and Roll.

"It was such a good event," O'Brien said of the Colonial fundraiser. She was pleased to see so many people interested in the skate park idea. Four designs were voted on that evening, which provided input on what potential users of the park would like to see, O'Brien continued.

O'Brien added that the Turtle Ridge Foundation has been an important partner. Champion skier Bode Miller and his family created the foundation in 2005. Turtle Ridge works to promote youth and adaptive sports activities.

A skate park logo and promotional t-shirts are under development, as well. On Monday, O'Brien learned that Dave Harkless, Littleton's Business Leader of the Year, has agreed to sell the shirts from Littleton Bike and Fitness. O'Brien said the shirts will hopefully be available in a few weeks.

Grants are another possibility, O'Brien said. She has received some help from the North Country Council on that effort.

Keeping the town updated is another focal area for the project, O'Brien said. This week she hopes to provide information to the selectmen either in person or via letter.

O'Brien believes expertise from other towns can be important in designing the park. She plans to reach out to communities in New Hampshire and Maine about the experience with skate parks. Littleton's Factory Teen Center has been operating an indoor skate park since June. Brad Shedd, who was deeply involved in the Littleton park, has worked with O'Brien on the Bethlehem effort.

Thanks to all of the input received, O'Brien believes an important goal has already been achieved. Bringing the community together has occurred because of the dozens of people interested in getting a new skate park up and running. Much work still remains, including finalizing a design and getting a firm price, but O'Brien was really happy to report the progress already made. As the project's Facebook page states, "A splash always causes a wave."

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