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Something “really, really cool” is about to happen at Fairgrounds Park, and a group came out on Wednesday evening to chat with the project planners about what that should look like.
It’s a planned $ 555,000 skateboard park, and riders are ready to see it happen.
Hagerstown City Council previously approved the project and awarded a construction bid to a skateboard park design group known as Spohn Ranch Skateparks of Industry in California.
About 35 people, including local skate enthusiasts, residents, representatives from Spohn Ranch Skateparks and others associated with the project gathered at the site scheduled for Wednesday evening to share ideas.
They met on a basketball court where the skate park is to be built. Rodney Tissue, director of parks and engineering for Hagerstown, told the group the park is expected to be open before Thanksgiving.
Cyclists and others made recommendations on the types of features they would like to see in the park and talked about other parks they like in the area.
Skateboard parks are usually a mix of “street” and “transition” areas, said Vince Onel, co-owner of Spohn Ranch Skateparks, after the meeting.
The street sections replicate what cyclists typically encounter in city landscapes, such as walls and steps, Onel said. Transition areas usually have “bowls” that cyclists can ride.
The transition features are derived from skate scenes in California where riders would test their tricks in empty pools, Onel said.
Onel said runners at the meeting appeared to be supporting a park that combines around 75% street concepts and 25% transition.
Skateboarder Chip Kearns said he has lived in Hagerstown for 40 years. He told the group that the kids would “harass” the skatepark because they will be so excited.
“This town hasn’t had a scene (like this) for a long time,” Kearns said.
Kearns said after the meeting that he now has children who skateboard.
Tyler Cordes, a resident and skateboarder in Hagerstown, said he was delighted to see the park under construction, especially since Hagerstown has been a bit “difficult” lately.
“I think it will be something good for the community,” Cordes said.
Onel expressed the same enthusiasm.
“This will be a state of the art facility,” said Onel, adding that it would give his band a chance to do “something really, really cool.”
After the discussion, Onel drew everyone’s attention to a series of pictures showing different kinds of features of the skateboard park. Participants were given “points” to place on the images to mark their favorites.
Onel said he would come back in about a month with a design proposal. He expects construction to begin in August.