Brattleboro, Vermont

Skaters and Advocates collaborating with Town government and community to construct a state-of-the-art skatepark at the Crowell Lot in Brattleboro.

Help us make the Brattleboro Skate Park a reality by emailing us at sk8brattleboro@gmail.com – tell us your name and how you think you can help.

We are beginning the planning stage and the Town has approved the future site, a beautiful green park just outside downtown Brattleboro.  Let’s get this park built!

Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming

Visit the BASIC website now.

Below are the frequently asked questions from the BASIC website:

Why do we need a skatepark?

Skateboarding has moved out of the fringes and into the mainstream, with one in five of all school aged children using skateparks nationwide.  By creating a place for all area youth to enjoy healthy outdoor activities, this project will foster an inclusive community where all youth – not just those who play an organized sports – can experience a sense of belonging.

What will happen to the swings, the play-structure, and the basketball court?

The new park plan will provide for placement of brand new swings and play-structure on the opposite side of the basketball court, which will not be removed to construct the skatepark.  We also hope to raise enough funds to resurface the basketball court, provide more seating throughout the park, and make the park more handicapped accessible.

Who will pay for the skatepark to be built?

All of the costs of construction of the park will be raised through charitable contributions from the public, corporate grants, and public and private grants.  There will be no tax dollars spent to construct the park itself.

How much will the skatepark cost?

BASIC estimates that the cost to construct a 10,000 square foot state-of-the-art concrete park will cost approximately $350,000.

Why is it so expensive?

There are less expensive means of building skateparks, either out of wood or steel.  Those types of materials, however, do not hold up well to regular use, especially in a climate such as ours.  It is our goal to build a park that will require little regular maintenance over a 20 year period.

When will the skatepark be built?

BASIC has five years, one of which is coming to a close, to raise the necessary funds to build the skatepark.

Why not build the skatepark at the proposed waterfront park or at the West River Park?

While the waterfront park would be an attractive location for a skatepark, that project is not ideal because it is not large enough to accommodate a 10,000 square foot park and provide the green space our downtown needs.  Moreover, the waterfront location poses environmental hazards that limit what kind of construction can be undertaken, thus anything that requires the degree of excavation necessitated by skatepark cannot be contemplated at that site.  As for the West River Park location, the current plan does not contemplate a skatepark because of stormwater runoff concerns, and because one of the main objectives of that park is to provide wide open spaces for team practices.  The West River Park also poses supervisory concerns, has no public transportation access at this time, and presents public safety concerns relating to skateboarders riding along route 30 to the site.

Why use the Crowell Park for the skatepark?

Town residents have been trying to build a skatepark in Brattleboro for over 30 years.  Prior to Crowell Park, two locations were proposed.  The first was at Living Memorial Park.  Neighbors to the Living Memorial Park threatened litigation, and the town chose to search for another location.  The second site was the West River Park, which was not chosen for the reasons stated above.

Building a skatepark in the Crowell Park site allows families that have children of all ages and recreation interests to have access to a wide variety of activities.  The Crowell Park also provides unique advantages from a security standpoint.  Police will be able to view the park from the street, those who live nearby or frequent the park will provide adult supervision by virtue of their presence, and because there will be no lighting the park will not be usable at night.  That cannot be said of the other proposed locations.

Won’t the skatepark be noisy?

Concrete skateparks are significantly quieter than regular sidewalks and paved roadways, because the surfaces are much smoother.  The majority of noise that skateboards make on sidewalks and roads is due to their pitted surfaces, which help with traction in the rain and snow.  Furthermore, the skatepark will be seamless, unlike sidewalks, so there will not be skipping noise.  Moreover, we are designing the park to focus sound in a eastward direction, towards Green Street School, and will use berms and evergreen shrubbery to muffle ambient noise from the park.

See also SPS Sound Studies. —Ed

Won’t there be a lot of people parking at the skatepark?

BASIC believes that having the skatepark as a part of the attraction for visitors to Brattleboro is not a bad thing.  The skatepark will certainly attract skateboarders from around the region.  However, it is important to point out that there are skateparks in many of our neighboring towns that accommodate the skateboarding needs of those populations.  Furthermore, the majority of area skateboarders are children who rely on public transportation or their parents to get from point A to point B.  BASIC anticipates that many parents will drop their kids off at the park while they shop or dine downtown.  For the minority of skateboarders old enough to drive, there is ample free and unused parking within 400 yards of Crowell Park on High Street, Western Avenue, Cedar Street, and Myrtle Street.

What about liability?

Contrary to popular thought, skateboarding is a relatively safe sport with statistics indicating that it ranks below all major sports including basketball, football, hockey, baseball and soccer, and even non-contact sports such as fishing and golf in terms of numbers of hospital visits per participant (US Consumer Products Safety Commission, 1997).  Researchers from The Journal of Trauma conclude in a 2002 report that, compared with other sports, skateboarding is relatively safe and that “Skateboarders skating for less than a week account for 1/3 of all injuries”.  Injuries to skateboarders occur primarily when skateboarders practice close to traffic, use homemade ramps or encounter uneven surfaces.  Each of these concerns is mitigated by the construction of a state-of-the-art skatepark.

Insurance for the skatepark would be provided under the town’s liability umbrella. However, Vermont limits liability for injuries suffered as a result of persons engaging in recreational activities.  12 V.S.A. 1037 – a Vermont statute – states in part that “a person who takes part in any sport accepts as a matter of law the dangers that inhere therein insofar as they are obvious and necessary.”  That means that skaters do so at their own risk, and the town’s liability is limited to circumstances where they allow the park to fall into disrepair and haven’t provided the proper warnings regarding skating at your own risk.

Won’t the skatepark just be another place where kids can hang out and party?

Skateparks across the country have demonstrated that skateparks, where kids can spend out-of-school time engaged in healthful activities, have been successful in reducing teenage drug use, crime and violence.  According to the former Mayor of Louisville, and creator of the renowned Louisville Extreme Park, David Armstrong, “These facilities have an amazing way of policing themselves . . . If you instill a sense of ownership among its users, they will not want to trash their doorstep.”