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Lin-Wood skate park discussion advances

On Aug. 11, Lincoln's selectmen and planning board held a joint onsite meeting at a proposed spot for the Lin-Wood Skate Park. Some of the attendees, pictured here from left to right, were planning board member John Hettinger, Town Manager Butch Burbank, selectman Tamra Ham, planning board member Paula Strickon, selectman Patricia McTeague, planning board member Taylor Beaudin, and town planning clerk Carole Bont. (Photo by Darin Wipperman) (click for larger version)
August 19, 2014
Lin-Wood skate park discussion advances



LINCOLN — On Aug. 11, the selectmen and planning board held an onsite discussion for the proposed Lin-Wood Skate Park. Kevin Bell, a member of the skate park committee, also attended the event.

The idea for a skate park in town has been considered for several years. Later in the week, Recreation Director Tara Tower said the site, near Main Street and Jean's Playhouse, has been seen as a good place for varied outdoor activities over the years.

About 20 years ago, Tower said, "The Village Core Committee was the original group that looked at what that property could include." A skate park has been one of several options for the area over the years.

Tower said the current skate park committee has worked well together and with the town on turning the skate park dream into reality. She was impressed with the can do attitude of those interested in the skate park on the proposed lot. The group, Tower continued, has cooperatively asked, "What can we do to make this become a reality."

Before heading out for the Aug. 11 site visit, board members discussed some ideas related to a possible skate park. O.J. Robinson, chairman of the board of selectmen, said, "We aren't here to make any final decisions," but to consider options on the exact location for the skate park, as well as access options.

Town Manager Butch Burbank noted the town has a right of way on the northern edge of the Jean's Playhouse parking lot. That access could be used for those driving to the skate park. "The town will take care of parking" for the park itself, Burbank added.

As the group discussed, many people would likely walk to the park because of close access to Main Street.

Regarding the land where the park could go, Burbank said, "It would have to be re-surveyed. There's no doubt about that."

Planning board member John Hettinger sees the value of a landscape architect for the site. Discussion among those present agreed that the skate park could be made more aesthetically pleasing through such expert input.

While at the site, members wondered about possible drainage impact from the addition of concrete, the proposed surface for the park. This could become an issue since the park is on the northern side of the proposed property, and the parcel slopes down farther south toward the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River.

Even with the unknown drainage situation, several members of the site visit team liked the idea of having the park on the property's northern edge. As Selectman Tamra Ham said, "The closer to Main Street the better."

Some wondered about public safety concerns at the skate park, since the location is not immediately visible from Main Street or other parking lots. Even so, Tower said Police Chief Ted Smith supports the location. Burbank suggested the department could add the park to its area of regular patrols.

Bell liked the ideas he was hearing, especially related to landscaping, as well as the possibility of a larger park than has been envisioned. A preliminary design calls for a park of only 1,536 square feet, measuring 96 feet long and 16 feet wide.

Next steps include more detailed conceptual drawings of what could be a larger skate park, the survey, and drainage study. Exact timing for completion of the longstanding project is not yet known, but more likely in 2016 than 2015.

Departing the meeting after further discussion in the town hall, Bell was quite happy. He thanked the two boards for the "great first step" taken that evening.

Tower believes a skate park can do a lot to promote the town's role as a tourist attraction, especially with the pending construction on the nearby Riverwalk resort. In addition to the park being "a marketing tool" for Lincoln and Woodstock, Tower said many local kids and adults will gain from yet another option for outdoor fun along the Kancamagus Highway.

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