BURRILLVILLE – A project to build a new skate park in Burrillville with help from a $500,000 federal grant is now underway, with town officials consulting with local youth as they explore potential new locations.
“We’re looking into the sites,” Public Works Director Jeffrey McCormick told members of the Town Council this month. “I have this group of kids that I met with and this is the kind of thing that they’re in to.”
The initiative to build a new park or renovate the current 15-year-old Chapel Street facility started last year with a petition by resident Jordan Roy, which, to date, has garnered 585 signatures.
An application for grant funding was completed late last year by Town Planner Raymond Goff and Planning Aide Nicole Stockwell, and submitted by former Congressional Rep. Jim Langevin as part of the federal budget, with support from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
McCormick noted that the park will be used – mostly by young adults – on bikes and scooters as well as skateboards.
But first, a location must be chosen.
“The existing skate park – the equipment’s there,” McCormick said. “It’s a really nice little area.”
The DPW director said that rather than tearing up the old park or moving it, the town could make the site available for younger kids.
Potential locations for a new and improved Burrillville skate park include the former Mobil gas station in Pascoag.
“It’s right in town,” McCormick said. “It’s close to where these kids are. They need this kind of activity.”
The 2.96 acre property, currently owned by Colleen Conley and 20 Fairmount Street, LLC, has been identified by the Burrillville Redevelopment Agency as a key to revitalization of the village. It was the source of water contamination and a remediation settlement from Mobil in 2011, and has failed to attract an investor.
McCormick noted that the 1.5 acre town-owned property on Union Avenue that once housed the Burrillville’s DPW offices is another possibility.
“We’ve already got the pavement there,” McCormick said, noting that one problem with that lot is that it’s in a residential area. “It would be visible. I’m not sure if that’s the spot.”
The group is also looking at another 1.5 acre property behind the Burrillville police station.
“Eight years ago they had a master plan to put baseball fields there,” said McCormick noting that pros include plenty of parking but cons include the presence of wetlands. “We didn’t want to put it next to Hero Park because there’s little kids there.”
Two more sites, at Burrillville Middle School behind the tennis courts, and on a large town-owned lot on Whipple Avenue, are also under consideration.
“We have this whole huge area over here and really it’s just one little pedestrian bridge to cross the river and get to this site from the high school,” McCormick said.
For now, the project is still in the planning stages, a replacement for facilities that Roy noted have ramps that stick out of the ground and have started to rust.
“It would help my community out because a lot of us ride are bikes or scooters there and we could really use a new skatepark,” Roy wrote.