March 7, 2016

Feedback, donations are needed for new Buxton skatepark

The meeting was orchestrated by Tim White, the program director for the Dare County Parks and Recreation Department, and Andy Duck, the president of Artisan Skateparks, and roughly 20 community members attended. The folks who had come to see the unveiled plans were skate enthusiasts, local business members, and even two local kids who paid rapt attention throughout the hour-long meeting.

“Are you guys excited about skating on that?” an attendee asked the kids as the concepts were shown on the overhead projector.

“Oh yeah!” was the reply.

The first option, Concept A, has a lot of street features and is roughly 7,000 square feet, which is pushing the amount of space available, but which will fit within the designated location behind the baseball field. This concept is within the $150,000 budget – funds that will be provided completely by the county.

Concept B is roughly 6,000 square feet, is very easy to drain, and features approximately 8-foot decks all the way around a central bowl. “You can skate the [upper] decks while someone is inside,” explained Duck. This concept is about $40,000 over budget, but was the preferred concept of the two at Thursday’s meeting.

Artisan Skateparks used community suggestions from the first meeting on Jan. 27, as well as comments that came in during the days and weeks that followed, to come up with both designs.

“We had email requests for street features, and some of the other elements that you see here,” said Duck as he indicated components of the parks. “We tried to include something for everyone based on the requests we received.”

Both concepts can be viewed in detail on a Facebook page that was set up over the weekend to garner more community feedback, which is found here:

Duck also made it clear at the meeting that adjustments could be made to either design. “We can go in different directions, and maximize the budget based on what you want,” he said.

The cost of both parks is due to materials – the foam alone is $30,000 for Concept B – but it’s also due to Hatteras Island-specific considerations, like creating a park that can handle the ever-changing and potentially damaging weather conditions.

“Our understanding of the environment here has grown in the past five years, and this area is tougher than some of our other locations,” said Duck. “So a chunk of the cost is going towards waterproofing and weather-proofing.”

And while both concepts were very well received, Concept B was the clear winner between the two at Thursday’s meeting.

The first few minutes of the meeting were dedicated to showing the details of the two different concepts via 3-D images, and the remainder of the meeting was an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and propose changes or suggestions.

But a good chunk of the meeting was an active discussion on how to generate donations to make up for the $40,000 discrepancy for Concept B, and who specifically could be contacted. Duck also noted that Concept B could be altered to work with the funds available, noting that “It’s doable, and if we have to ‘suck things in,’ then that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Artisan Skateboards cannot contact companies directly to ask for donations, but the community is welcome to talk to their friends and colleagues to see if some of the materials, equipment, and other expenses for the upcoming park can be purchased at a discount or garnered free of charge. (Potential donators should note that contributions will be tax-deductible.)

Among the items that can be donated are the following:

  • Concrete
  • Fill / Sand
  • Lumber
  • Accommodations for the crew while they are working
  • Construction equipment to use for the duration of the project, and other construction supplies
  • Cash Donations (the specifics of how to donate money is being worked out, and should be posted soon.)

Community members who would like to donate, or who may know someone who can help with the project, are welcome to comment or send a private message via the Facebook page, where a discussion of how to garner materials and funds is already starting in the comments sections of the two concept photos.

The timeframe to share feedback or provide any donations is short, however.

While the exact start date is unclear, Artisan Skateparks plans to break ground in about a month or so. Once started, the project should take about eight weeks, and the skatepark should be up and running by the start of summer – just in time for kids freshly out of school to enjoy it.

And although the folks at the meeting noted that this timeframe could cause an issue when it came to generating community support – “It’s a short time frame and bad time of year for cash flow,” one attendee noted – any potential hurdles did not diminish the overall enthusiasm for the project.

In the meantime, everyone on Hatteras Island is welcome to visit the Facebook page to view the two concepts being proposed, and to offer any help they can - whether it’s essential materials, or just a place to stay for the crew.

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