Skateboard enthusiasts in Waynesville will be happy to hear the town has been busily preparing for a long-awaited skate park on Vance Street near the recreation center.
The town board recently dropped $28,500 on a California firm called Spohn Ranch Skateparks to design the park, marking notable progress in a process that’s crawled for more than a decade.
The board unanimously agreed it was time to move forward.
“We beat this horse about as much as we can beat it,” said Mayor Gavin Brown.
“I think this is a giant step forward in reaching our goal,” said Rhett Langston, Waynesville’s recreation director.
The town is also applying for a $60,000 state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant to help fund construction.
While the town failed to lock in the same state grant last year, having a concrete design plan in hand might improve their chances this go-around.
“To have this plan in place to show them you really are enthused about doing it, I think it will be help us with the grant,” said Alderman Gary Caldwell, the most ardent supporter of the skate park on the town board.
Even if the town lands the grant, it still faces the challenge of scraping up an equal amount in matching funds and paying for the remainder of the cost.
The town will learn in early May if it has won the coveted grant.
Langston said it is difficult right now to even speculate on the total cost of the skate park. After hiring the design firm, the town has $41,500 remaining of the original $70,000 set aside for the park. It also holds a generous $20,000 grant from the Waynesville Kiwanis Club.
To supplement that sum, the recreation department continues to fundraise by selling bricks with personalized messages for a walkway leading up to the park. So far, they’ve raised $2,900.
Having a conceptual design plan in hand could also aid fundraising efforts, according to town officials.
“If you just tell someone, ‘We want to build a skate park. Will you donate?’ they might. But if you show them, ‘This is what we want to build,’ your chances of getting participation may be a lot better,” said Lee Galloway, Waynesville town manager.
“Local skaters will have something in their hands to show this is what we’re looking for, this is the cause,” said Langston.
The town considers it absolutely essential that skaters throw their two cents in, since it doesn’t want to invest in a skate park that they didn’t like.
“If we’re going to do it, let’s just do it right from the beginning,” said Langston.
More on the park
The Waynesville Kiwanis and Parks and Recreation Skate Park will be located in a fenced-in, outdoor facility on the site of the former horse ring on Vance Street. It will join the sprawling town recreation complex along Richland Creek, where playgrounds, tennis courts, picnic shelters, ball fields, a greenway, a dog park, a track, and the Waynesville Recreation Center are clustered.
The park would be free to use, but skaters would be required to pay a small registration fee so the Parks and Recreation Department can keep track of who is using the facility.
For now, skaters still have to deal with a town ban on skateboards on sidewalks and most town streets. Violators face a $50 fine and the possibility of having their boards confiscated.