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Local Issue: Skatepark
Submitted by Rob Hardy on Sun, 04/15/2012 - 4:43pm
Discussions about a permanent skateboard park in Northfield began six years ago, in June 2006, when a group of local youth organized the Northfield Skateboard Coalition. The Coalition, spearheaded by Joe McGowan, pitched their idea to the Northfield Parks and Recreation Board, and began fundraising for a skatepark. Between October 2006 and April 2007, $10,000 was raised through a matching grant from the Northfield Healthy Community Initiative. In 2011, the Northfield Union of Youth acquired equipment for a skateboard park, which is currently being stored by the city.
According to the March 2008 master plan for city parks, the three leading possibilities for the site of the skatepark are Memorial Park, Ames Park, and Babcock Park (see table below). Memorial Park was the first choice of the skateboard coalition in the early stages of the discussion, but the choice has met consistent opposition from neighborhood residents. Ames Park was originally favored by the City Council, but was removed from consideration by a vote of the Council in June 2009. In November 2012, the PRAB recommended sending to the city council a ranked list of preferences for a permanent park location, with Riverside as the first choice and Old Memorial as second choice. The PRAB also requested an allocation of $30,000 to begin construction of the park. On December 4, 2012, the City Council unanimously approved the PRAB recommendations, with an additional $30,000 allocation for park construction from city funds.
See also: Northfield Skateboard Park website.
Here's a rough timeline of the process so far:
- November 2005: Memorial Park master plan adopted (including pool and surrounding greenspace).
- June 2006: Northfield Skateboard Coalition founded. Favors Memorial Park as location for skatepark.
- October 2006: Skateboard coalition receives a $10,000 matching grant from Northfield HCI (expires in 2012).
- March 2008: Park system master plan adopted (listing Memorial, Ames or Babcock as possible skatepark locations).
- June 2009: City Council votes 5-1 to eliminate Ames Park as a possible site for the skatepark.
- July 2009: Temporary skatepark located in Babcock Park.
- Late 2011: Northfield Union of Youth acquires skatepark equipment from the City of Plymouth.
- Early 2012: Parks and Recreation Board begins considering a location for a temporary skatepark.
- May 2012: Temporary skatepark opens in Riverside Lions Park.
- October 2012: PRAB committee makes recommendation for site of a permanent park; the full PRAB tables the motion to accept the recommendation, in order to explore the possibility of the YMCA site.
- November 2012: PRAB recommends Riverside Park as the site for a permanent skatepark, with Memorial as an alternative site. The PRAB also requests from the city council an allocation of $30,000 to start construction of a skateboard park.
- December 4, 2012: The City Council approves the west side of Riverside Park as the location of a permanent skateboard park, and approves the allocation of $30,000 in park board funds with an additional $30,000 (from a city source to be determined) for construction of the park.
- February 5, 2013: The City Council approves the allocation of $30,000 from the park board and a matching $30,000 from the city’s general fund. The Council directs the park board to oversee the project, with completion of the project in 2013.
- May 9, 2013: The PRAB decides to move forward with a skateboard park in Old Memorial Park, citing prohibitive costs for site remediation due to poor soils in Riverside Park.
- September 25, 2013: The PRAB holds a design workshop with Spohn Ranch to solicit input from skateboarders and neighbors on the design of the park.
- October 17, 2013: The PRAB considers design alternatives submitted by Spohn Ranch and hears concerns about skateboard park noise. The next step will be to set up a video conference with Spohn Ranch to provide feedback on the designs.
- January 2014: City of Northfield sens out RFP (request for proposals) for a skateboard park design firm.
Here's a list of links to resources for Northfield citizens who want to become more informed on this local issue. Northfield.org does not take a position on this issue, but encourages citizens to become better informed about local issues and to contact their elected officials to make their voices heard.
UPDATE (August 2014): Because of a redesign in 2013, most of the links to City of Northfield website are now broken.
New materials (April 2012 and following)
- Request for Proposals (RFP) for Skateboard Park Design (City of Northfield) and Addendum # 1 (January 9, 2014)
- “Northfield Skateboard Coalition seeking turnover as park reaches design stage” (Northfield News July 27, 2013)
- “Skate park planned for Old Memorial in Northfield” (Northfield News May 10, 2013)
- Agenda: PRAB Special Meeting on Skateboard Park (May 9, 2013)
- City Memo: Alternative Motions for Skateboard Park Funding (from the February 8, 2013 City Council packet)
- Memo on Skateboard Park Process from PRAB chair Nathan Knutson (December 20, 2012)
- Recap of the December 4, 2012 City Council meeting by League of Women Voters' observer Jane McWilliams
- Video of the December 4, 2012 City Council meeting (courtesy of Northfield Patch)
- "Council approves plan for Northfield skateboard park site" (Northfield News December 4, 2012)
- Agenda for December 4, 2012 City Council meeting
- Video of the Richfield, MN skateboard park in Augsburg Park, often cited as a model for a Northfield skatepark.
- Skatepark Sound Study (2011 Brattleboro, VT), cited by PRAB chair Nathan Knutson at the November 27 work sesson.
- "Council receives Park Board skatepark recommendation: Riverside Park plus $30K" (LocallyGrownNorthfield November 28, 2012).
- Packet for the City Council's November 27, 2012 work session (the skatepark is first on the agenda).
- "Park and Recreation Advisory Board recommends skatepark location" (November 16, 2012 Northfield.org).
- "Northfield park board recommends skate park site" (November 15, 2012 Northfield News).
- "Update: YMCA not a good fit for skate park, says park board" (November 13, 2012, Northfield News).
- Memo on the skateboard park and the YMCA. Knutson. (November 2012)
- November 2012 PRAB Packet, including minutes of the permanent skatepark discussion in October.
- "Park board tables Northfield skate park recommendation" (Northfield News October 18, 2012)
- "Riverside Park recommended for Northfield skateboard park" (Northfield News October 18, 2012)
- PRAB Committee Recommendation of Riverside or Memorial Park as a permanent site. Lutsky/Hvistendahl. (October 2012).
- PRAB Subcommittee Alternate Recommendation of Babcock PArk as a permanent site. G. Clark. (October 2012).
- Text of Scott Carpenter's email to NESNA members about permanent skatepark discussions/Memorial Park (June 2012).
- "Northfield Skate Park Coalition becomes subject of documentary" (Northfield News, May 23, 2012).
- LocallyGrownNorthfield post on the opening of the temporary skatepark (with photos).
- May 2012 PRAB Packet, including minutes of the April PRAB meeting (which included approval of the temporary site at Riverside Lions Park).
- "Temporary Northfield Skatepark Gets Council OK" (May 2, 2012, Northfield News)
- City Council Packet (May 1, 2012), including a letter from staff recommending Riverside Park as temporary skatepark location (p. 54).
- LTE: "Northfield Senior Communities Concerned Over Skateboard Park Site" (April 24, 2012 Northfield News)
- LTE: "Old Memorial Park Ideal Location for Northfield Skate Park" (April 24, 2012, Northfield News)
- Minutes from the March 15, 2012 PRAB discussion of a temporary skatepark location (excerpted from the complete minutes).
Older materials (2005-April 2012)
- Skateboard Plaza Proposal (2006)
- Northfield Park System Master Plan (March 2008). The skatepark is discussed in section 3.28.
- Northfield Skateboard Coalition (old website).
- Northfield East Side Neighborhood Association skatepark discussion.
- LocallyGrownNorthfield posts tagged "skatepark."
- Carletonian article (October 2009) on the skatepark discussions.
- June 1, 2009 City Council Packet (on siting of skatepark at Ames Park). See pages 29-32.
- June 1, 2009 City Council Minutes (discussion and rejection of Ames Park as a site for the skate park).
- Letter from Brauer & Associates (2007), a consulting firm hired by the city to prepare the parks master plan, on the siting of the skatepark.
- Letter from Gene Allen Design (2007), a consulting firm hired by the skateboard coalition, on the siting of the skatepark.
- November 21, 2005 City Council Packet (information for approval of Memorial Park Master Plan, pages 10 and following).
- Memorial Park Master Plan drawing (attachment to the 11/21/05 City Council packet).
- The most recent LocallyGrownNorthfield post on the skatepark issue (April 5, 2012), including an opportunity for public discussion.
- A complete list of Northfield parks.
- Contact information for City Council and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.
- "Northfield youth deserve a skatepark—now" (Northfield News December 8, 2012)
- "PRAB Skateboard Park Recommendation Deserves Our Support" (Northfield Patch November 19, 2012)
- "Moving Forward Toward a Skateboard Park" (Northfield Patch November 16, 2012)
- "The Opportunity of a Skateboard Park" (Northfield Patch September 20, 2012)
- "The time is right to find a permanent skateboard park in Northfield" (Northfield News October 2, 2012)
- "Board has obligation to act on Northfield skateboard park recommendation" (Northfield News October 19, 2012)
- "Northfield resident opposes skate park near residential areas" (Northfield News October 25, 2012)
- "Old Memorial Park ideal location for a Northfield skate park" (Northfield News May 1, 2012)
Above: the proposed skateboard park location in Riverside Park (December 2012). Rejected in early 2013 because of unfavorable soil conditions.
Above: possibly the earliest mention of a skateboard park in official city documents.
The pros and cons of Memorial, Ames, and Babcock Parks as locations for the skatepark (from the 2008 Park Master Plan, section 3.28).
The section on Memorial Park from the 2008 Park Master Plan (section A.23).
BMX at the 2012 Temporary Skateboard Park in Riverside Park.