Skate Park Update
Councilman for District 5
City of Garland
It has certainly been a lengthy process to get this project from bond approval in 2004 into a design and build phase. Let me focus on the progress we have made recently. Following the decision last fall to re-site the skate park at Rick Oden Park, Council discussed the scope and cost of the project. There was support to build a regional-size skate park, however the majority of Council asked if it could be designed in such a way that it could be built in two phases; some believed that there would be insufficient demand to warrant building the skate park at its full scope. Accordingly, the Council approved the skatepark in the 2019 CIP at just over a million dollars (half the expected cost of the full park), with a directive for staff to determine if it was feasible to build the facility in a phased approach.
City staff, the design company, and the builder company got to work. In April, a public input workshop was held. About a hundred people showed up to hear about the project and give their input on the design and the specific features and components they wanted to see in the skate park. I attended the meeting and had the opportunity to meet a multi-generational group of enthusiasts, including a group of gentlemen in their 30’s who engaged in skate-park tourism, traveling around the country to skate different parks.
In May, following the passage of the bond referendum, I advocated for an immediate start on a Rick Oden Park Masterplan to ensure that the various elements of the park were properly coordinated and sited within the approximately fifteen million dollar, 2019 bond-approved, redesign of Rick Oden Park. Council concurred and the overall park planning got underway, with a focus on identifying the specific siting of the skate park.
The design team spent much of the summer assimilating all of the information into a design for the skatepark and working to identify a way that the facility could be built in phases. The public input from the first meeting showed an equal split of interest among the three major feature sets of a skatepark. From a design phasing perspective, this compelled the design team to choose between designs that built half of each of the three feature sets in each phase; or fully building out one or two of the feature sets in the first phase and the remaining in the second phase. The design team ultimately chose to design and present it in the second manner as a possibility for constructing the facility.
Earlier this month, another public meeting was held on the skate park. The purpose was to present the draft design and potential phasing to get detailed comments from the public. About forty people attended and provided some in-depth technical comments and questions about design, flow, angles, feature specifications, material choices and more. The group included novices, experienced amateurs, and professionals. Many of them expressed concerns that a half-built park would not create enough of a draw to warrant the building of a second phase; a mother who lives in north Garland told me that she would rather continue driving her kids to Frisco and McKinney to skate than to bring them to a de-featured facility.
I expect, in the coming months before the 2020 CIP Budget is prepared and presented to Council, to have the design team bring back their plan and recommendations to Council for the design of the facility and as to whether or not to build the facility in phases. I also plan to call a public hearing to allow for public comment on whether or not to build the skatepark in its entirety or in two phases. Once Council makes a determination on phasing, I’ll ask staff to plan accordingly as it prepares the proposed 2020 CIP Budget. In the meantime, the design team will move forward on the construction documents based on Council direction and decisions.
In that the design/build contract has already been awarded, this should permit the City to move immediately to construction once the final design documents have been prepared. I currently expect a groundbreaking sometime in the first quarter of 2020 with a fourth quarter of 2020 target for completion.