Timeline for skate park construction in Meriden pushed to early 2023

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MERIDEN — Plans to install a new semi-permanent skatepark over the former ice rink at City Park continue to progress. 

Officials previously planned to have the new park ready to open this fall. But the funding needed to complete the project wasn’t lined up in time to meet that timeline. Leaders now expect construction to begin in early March and take about four to six weeks.  

The City Council was scheduled to vote on a resolution to reallocate funds left over from other projects toward the skatepark, according to the agenda for Monday’s regular meeting. 

The project will cost $160,763, according to estimates provided by American Ramp Co., the Missouri-based firm hired to design and build the skatepark. 

The City Council’s finance committee voted last week to recommend using $43,584 in funding left over from previous projects – the Spoon Shop Brook channel and Dog’s Misery Swamp mitigation – toward the design and construction of the new park. The city had previously committed $100,000 in funding toward the effort. The project will require a second finance committee review of leftover funds from other bonded projects in order to be fully funded. 

A few years from now, officials hope to complete a significantly larger and more permanent skate plaza project at the former Factory H site at 116 Cook Ave.

The last city-owned skatepark, which was located near Platt High School on Coe Avenue, closed in 2013, to provide a staging area for the school’s renovation.

Mayor Kevin Scarpati described the project as something long desired by the local skating community, which has provided feedback on the new park, he said.  

“We finally have some good news to deliver,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, the city has expanded its outdoor recreation and athletic facilities, including projects to convert former tennis courts into partial basketball courts and the installation of pickleball courts at Washington Park. 

Scarpati said conversations about the potential to install an additional splash pad and additional pickleball courts are ongoing. 

Chris Bourdon, the city’s director of Parks & Recreation, said the new skatepark will be similar to the one on Coe Avenue. 

“They [American Ramp Company] did a good job tying those things together,” Bourdon said. 

Bourdon said the Coe Avenue park had been “utilized quite a bit” when it was open. On warm days, there could be anywhere from 50 to 100 skaters. 

Cole Beckham, action sports development specialist for American Ramp Company, described the current project as an “above ground skatepark” that would be built on the existing concrete pad at City Park. 

Beckham explained the larger skatepark planned at the former Factory H site is one that will likely be developed over the next five years.

“We should be starting on the design sometime within the next year or so,” Beckham wrote.

He anticipated skatepark equipment should be installed by early spring at City Park. 

Over the summer, the company surveyed community members to help inform the park’s design, Beckham explained. 

“There are some facets of the design that pay homage to the old Meriden skatepark per request by the community, and then we implemented some new features to update the design to today’s trends,” he wrote, adding, “This skatepark should serve as a nice local amenity for at least a couple decades with proper upkeep.”

Andy Garcia, who also goes by the nickname HU$H, is a fixture of the central Connecticut skating community. 

Garcia has long sponsored local events and is now a member of the advisory committee providing input on the skate park project. Garcia said he got involved with the City Park project after holding a skating event in an abandoned tennis court on Lewis Avenue a year ago. 

“We reached about 80 to 90 people. They all came together from not only Meriden but around CT,” Garcia wrote in an email to the Record-Journal. “They also brought portable ramps, food and water for everyone to enjoy. The goal of that event was to bring back the Meriden skatepark that’s been torn down for about 9 years.”

Garcia said he helped review and design the park with American Ramp. His impression of the plans so far “is to make it as safe and skatable for anyone that wants to start or get better on skateboarding.”

“The plan is to make it like the old skatepark but with more to play around with,” Garcia wrote.

He is the only skater on the committee. Supporters from other parts of Connecticut, including New Britain and Southington have also provided input, Garcia said. 

“They want to help build the Meriden skate community back from what it once was by giving opportunity and have gatherings in the park,” he wrote. 



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