After receiving the Tony Hawk Foundation Built To Play Skate Park Grant, Ferndale now needs to decide which city park will be the site of its new skate park. Pictured is the skate park located in Huntington Woods.

After receiving the Tony Hawk Foundation Built To Play Skate Park Grant, Ferndale now needs to decide which city park will be the site of its new skate park. Pictured is the skate park located in Huntington Woods.

Photo by Mike Koury

Skate park funds get approval, possibly new location

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 21, 2018


FERNDALE — Ferndale moved one step closer to adding a skate park to its city, though where it will be located now is up in the air.

The Ferndale City Council approved at its Aug. 13 meeting a resolution to match funds that the city received from the Tony Hawk Foundation Built to Play Skate Park Grant in the amount of $250,000. 

The grant allows Ferndale to build a custom concrete skate park with the footprint of 8,000 to 11,000 square feet. The council approved the city’s application for the grant back in June.

“We’re ecstatic,” Parks and Recreation Director LaReina Wheeler said. “This is definitely going to help us make a skate park even better. We don’t plan on making it bigger. We just plan on making it better than what we anticipated. With this grant and with our partnership with the Tony Hawk Skate Park Foundation and their expertise, I think we’ll be able to have a premier skate park that could just be one of a kind in Ferndale.”

The city of Ferndale has been looking to build a skate park since last year, but held off after it decided to make a park out of concrete instead of prefabricated parts. The parks and recreation director now hopes that a groundbreaking for the park will take place next spring or summer.

Wheeler said the city has put together a community advisory skateboard committee that will assist with getting feedback from residents, spreading awareness about design meetings and selecting a contractor to construct it.

The first community design meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29, at B. Nektar Meadery, 1511 Jarvis St. 

“The objective is to kind of just reach out to the community and all those who are skaters to kind of see what elements and features, in general, they want to see in a skate park,” Wheeler said.

From the meetings, Wheeler said the feedback will help the city develop its request for proposals for prospective developers.

“As part of that process, once we select the contractor, they will actually work with us to hold design meetings within the community to be more specific on what we want to put in our skate park,” she said. “They’ll come up with a few different designs. We’ll get community input on those and make revisions, if necessary, before we actually finalize the design and start construction.”

Originally, the plan was to put the skate park at Wilson Park, but during the meeting, the city altered its decision and approved the resolution without naming a specific park.

This was due to concern from nearby residents of Wilson Park, who feel that it isn’t the best place for a skate park.

“There were some concerns that needed to be vetted,” City Manager April Lynch said. “We’re going to take some of the neighborhood concerns and take the opportunity to look at the site plan and other site options and make sure that Wilson is the best park.

“Our team is going to come back to City Council with vetting some more of those concerns and bringing back some other options,” she said.

Jordan Smellie was one of those residents, who said during the meeting that he — along with others in his neighborhood — are in favor of a skate park in the city, though they’re against it going in Wilson Park. Smellie also noted that he is a member of the skate park citizens advisory committee.

“This neighborhood has made it quite clear that we are in favor of a skate park being added, but we are in agreement that Wilson Park is an inappropriate place,” he said. “It is already low on green space. The school district’s selling the school property to the housing developers. While not part of the city’s park property, it was continuous green space that was used as park land. That’s been lost.”

Smellie said the dog park, a popular addition to Wilson Park, also reduced usable green space for people, and that dropping 11,000 square feet of concrete in the middle of what little green space remains is too much.

“That is simply not the right location for this amenity in our park system,” he said.