New Paltz Village Skate Garden Plans Roll Along

Photo Courtesy to Devon Jane Schweizer

Community members gathered in Village Hall on Jan. 31 to see the new design for the future New Paltz Skate Garden nearly two years after the project’s last design meeting.

The design, created by local cooperative Hudson Valley Trailworks, spans 12,000 square feet. It consists of varying ledges, ramps and rails, as well as bowls and extension walls to accommodate vertical skating. These features are placed to create different zones and lanes, preventing as much collision as possible. 

Hudson Valley Trailworks has made many site visits to factor the topography of the land into their design, a crucial element that has been missing in previous designers’ processes. The park will eventually be built on the southeast corner of Hasbrouck Park, where Mohonk Avenue and Tricor Avenue intersect, to seamlessly fit ramps and bowls into the sloped edges of the park without being obstructive. 

The estimated cost for the concrete park is $660,000; however this estimate can change depending on the final design, prevailing wages, geological factors and in-kind donations. 

Project leaders Mayor Tim Rogers and Deputy Mayor Alexandria Wojcik are aiming to get most of their funding through a New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation matching grant program. In order to do so, they must create an engineering report outlining the necessary materials and basic construction plans for the project. While the new design brings them closer to this step, finishing this application and collecting the money for the required donation match could take longer than expected. As they work on applying for grants, the Village has to rely on payments from new housing developments and community donations to fund the project.

New housing proposals, such as the Chestnut Properties and LLC project, are required to contribute payment in lieu of land to the Village’s recreation fund if they are not developing their own recreational facilities. With many recent proposals for developments, the Village could start putting these payments towards the project by this summer.

Cost is one of many obstacles that have stunted the progress of this project. Between now and the last public meeting about the project in early 2022, the Village has been waiting on soil boring reports to determine where Hasbrouck’s water table and rock formations are. They had to wait for the green light from Verizon, which had a splice box placed in the same corner that the park was supposed to be built in. Now, they wait for the final changes to the park’s design, as well as the relocation of a shed, a swingset and a tree that stand where the skate park will be. To keep up morale, they adopted a stretch of highway in the name of the project and organized cleanups twice a year, but skaters still fear the project has lost momentum.

“We are a local government that gets a lot of stuff done. That being said, things still take longer than they feel like they should,” Rogers said.

Regardless of the obstacles, the project has come a long way since its creation: a GoFundMe started by a group of highschoolers in 2020. For those highschoolers, skating was an opportunity for community, to grow and develop a skill. These community values are the heart of this project for both the Village and the skater community, and they’re what has kept this project progressing through all the delays.

“What’s exciting and important about this concept is that this is largely a study in communities’ need for third spaces,” Rogers said at a Village Board Meeting on Feb. 14. “There’s enormous value to both young people and people of all ages playing and recreating and socializing.”