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Manchester set to ramp up activity on skate park

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 14. 2013 9:22PM

MANCHESTER — The proposal may have been on the back burner for a couple of months, but discussions about upgrading the Adam Curtis Skate Park are ready to get rolling again.

Project Coordinator Jim DeStefano has confirmed he will appear before the Committee on Lands and Buildings this afternoon to provide city officials with an update on recent developments involving the park. The meeting gets under way at 4:30 p.m. today in the Aldermanic Chambers on the third floor of City Hall.

“We’re not ready to show finalized plans yet, but we’ve been making progress,” said DeStefano.

In May, experts in the design and construction of skate parks from Artisan Skateparks and Pillar Design Studios held meetings in Manchester with city engineers and skateboarders to determine what users want in a redeveloped city skate park on Maple Street, along with realistic and achievable parameters for the project.

XMVSkate Inc., the nonprofit entity formed to draw up physical improvements to and improve the status of the Adam Curtis Skate Park, has been developing tentative plans to upgrade the facility in the hopes that community pride in the site will help eliminate problems like crime and graffiti that sometimes occur in skate parks in other communities.

XMVSkate has been considering an assortment of potential designs for a covered facility that includes the adjoining community center as part of the skate park.

A fully enclosed facility may be beyond the anticipated budget, but organizers say they lean toward a pole-roof sort of covering that will allow use of the park through much of the year while making sure the activities are in public view.

Destefano suggests replacing or altering the Regis Lemire Community Center, either with a new structure that allows a better view of the skate park or by removing part of the complex used for storage.

“What to do with the Community Center is an issue we’ve been grappling with,” said DeStefano. “By blocking the sight lines you create an environment where mischief can happen during any hours of the day. By relocating the building and incorporating it into the park, it can be improved.”

“It also could be that razing the garages located in the southerly portion of the existing building and rebuilding an addition to the main building in the rear would accomplish the goals of opening up sight lines and allow the incorporation of the community center into the overall park while minimizing disruption to the current operations of the center,” said DeStefano. “We continue to believe that the community center building is a critical component to the project, as it would provide amenities and an income stream for maintenance and future capital improvements while still accommodating the existing youth programs that operate there.”

Discussions held with skateboarding enthusiasts in May revealed the park, built a decade ago, is outdated in terms of what skaters expect to find in a modern skate park. Organizers plan to launch a fundraising drive later this year and have said that users will be asked to take a stake in the park through a user or membership fee.

DeStefano said he believes he will have plans ready to show to city officials by the end of the summer.

“Once we have the designs finalized and present them, we should be able to better determine the cost of the project and set a fundraising goal,” said DeStefano.

XMVSkate currently plans on raising about $500,000 to refurbish or rebuild the park.

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