May 22, 2008

$500K skatepark to be done by October

Though it’s been seven years in the making, the city’s new skatepark may prove worth the wait.
“By the fall, it should be done,” said Tom Ragaini, a park commissioner.
The $500,000 project slated for completion at Rockwell Park by mid-October will offer skateboarders one of the best municipal projects in New England.
Park Director Ed Swicklas said it will be “top notch” and should prove a hit with skateboarders who have long congregated downtown to practice their moves illegally on the steps of the Barnes Group, City Hall and other buildings.
City officials are prepared next month to hire California Skateparks, an industry leader, to construct the 16,000-square-foot concrete skatepark on the site of the former basketball court at the historic park.
Director Ed Swicklas said the company was the only qualified bidder on the job.
The Park Board approved the deal this week, but the City Council needs to give its blessing before Mayor Art Ward can sign the contract.
The skatepark is part of a $6.5 million renovation of the West End park aimed at pumping life back into the park after years of growing neglect. The first phase of the project, which includes new parking lots, is underway.
Bids for the second phase are due next month, Swicklas said, which will include creating a new playground, fixing walkways and more.
A final phase will be aimed at fixing up the lagoon, which has languished since it was closed for swimming a decade ago.
Plans call for a mostly street level plaza with a single bowl, along with rails, steps, benches, ramps and other features that skateboarders will enjoy, officials said.
Swicklas said the original plan was changed with the help of the company to pare expenses without reducing the park much. Natural berms will be used where retaining walls were once contemplated, he said, and what may have been an excessive number of benches has been cut.
The original bid was almost $800,000 -- a budget buster -- but the revisions pared expense without losing much, Swicklas said.
The biggest dollar change made to lower the tab was shifting from the red concrete initially eyed to a more commonplace color, officials said.
Ragaini said that California Skateparks will do a bang-up job because they want more East Coast business.
“To them, this is a chance to show people what they can do,” Ragaini said.
California Skateparks has more than a decade of experience building more than 130 skateparks across the country, according to its website. The closest parks it has done are in Maine and New Jersey.
Building a skatepark has been on the city’s agenda since 2001 when city leaders promised to put one somewhere after ESPN’s X Trials at Lake Compounce drew attention to the sport.
But the plan ran into a major hurdle when officials could not find a place to build it that didn’t meet with opposition. A plan to put it at Page Park fell through when neighbors rallied to block it. There has been relatively little opposition to putting it at Rockwell Park.

California Skateparks

Skaters for Public Skateparks (discussion about Bristol skatepark)

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Anonymous said...

Surely, $500,000 can be spent on something better like to close the $350,000 shortfall because of the price of fuel.

Anonymous said...

It's that kind of thinking that keeps this town depressed and scares away good families.

Tim Gamache said...

Yeah,to hell with the promise we made to these kids,right?

Steve Collins said...

"These kids" are parents now, Tim. The wheels of government grind slowly.

Anonymous said...

The organized and encouraged maiming and crippling of our children. Just brilliant.

We promised them a place where they could break limbs, split skulls and tear off acres of skin so we should deliver on the promise.

These are the kids that are going to police themselves because we have $500,000 to build this house of broken bones but no money to staff it.


Anonymous said...

It's all about priorities and a skate park should not be the priority. We can do with out these types of spending for the over good of the community.

Anonymous said...

Good. Over 10 years in the making. The more the kids have to do the better.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

With all that money, we could of given our hardworking city employees an extra raise this year.

Anonymous said...

This is a 500K waste of money that is subversive and dangerous. I want my daughters NO WHERE near that thing EVER!

Anonymous said...

As a skateboard's parent, I am pleased that the park is finally going to be constructed. We don't hesitate to spend money on playgrounds in parks for young children. When these children grow too big for the playground what do they do? Stay in the house and play video games? Not very healthy! We need to show them we still care and give them a fun place to "skate". If you think it's not great workout, try it for yourself! I applaud the city of Bristol for finally keep it's word to these kids. Yes, some of these kids are parents now so, let's give the next generation a place to be kids. Be Happy!

Anonymous said...

May 22, 2008 5:01 PM:

I agree with you 101%.

A skate park should have been the last of the priorities for Rockwell Park.

How about fixing the lagoon first and getting rid of the all the bees in the playground, fix the fense and have the police patrol the place so its safe for people who don't care to defend themselves from thugs?

Anonymous said...

This is what happens when you have a bunch of mind-less and/or clue-less stooges on the Park Revitalization Committee.

A debacle!

Anonymous said...

What's the scoop on the chief mindless and clueless stooge on Park revitalization's sudden resignation? Does Ms. Defillippi no longer have an interest? Do tell.

Anonymous said...

It's about time. And, FYI, not all skateboarders are thugs. Just like not all Republicans are bigots.

Anonymous said...

May 22, 2008 10:34 PM:

What? Why are you being a bigot?

Of course not all are skateboarders are thugs. But there is a subversive attitude related to the activity. The sport attracts punks and drug users.

And of course all not Democrats are either Castro-loving socialists, gay or baby-killers either are they?

Anonymous said...

May 22, 2008 10:34 PM:

Who said all skate-baorders are thugs? You must be a teen ager who's mother dictates your weekend activities.

Have you been to Rockwell Park on a nice weekend afternoon in the summer? It's full of non-skateboarding thugs. The place looks like a mean ghetto with people and their loud, offensive, vulgar rap music and pitbulls who disrespect society and the rules of the park (such as "no open fires").

Wake up!

Anonymous said...

Can't I be a citizen who doesn't care for skatboarding and doesn't care to see some of my tax money going into building something I have no interest in without being labeled and called a bigot?

I don't like the idea and obviously I'm not alone. I've seen these skateparks. It doesn't take too much imagination to see where kids can be really hurt.

Look at these skaters around town. Many of them look like Goth, Marilyn Manson wanna-bees. Is that good for the park? I don't really think so. Do the taxpayers owe this service to anyone?

I'd rather see the lagoon revitalized where it was in the
50s, 60s and the 70s when kids could swim there.

But you're getting your skate-park so stop complaining.

Anonymous said...


Who controls your daughters????

Anonymous said...

May 23, 2008 6:48 AM:

Not the government, nor a committee run by Supply Cart Caddy Tom Ragaini or Janitorial Arts expert Pat Nelligan either, thank god.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Odin said...

"Can't I be a citizen who doesn't care for skatboarding and doesn't care to see some of my tax money going into building something I have no interest in without being labeled and called a bigot?"

No, you can't. When you say you don't want "your" tax dollars spent on a legitimate activity because you don't like the people who use that activity, that makes you a bigot.

Anonymous said...

So what?

I simply do not care for skateboarding. I have stated more than once that not all skateboarders are bad (which would be a ridiculous thing to say anyway). I'm not even sure that the skate-park is a bad thing neither am I sure that the park will attract subversive or anti-social kids to the park. Although these things are distictly possible.

It is hard not to see how physical injuries and increased liability would be much greater as the result of this park.

But I am sure that the $500K could be put to better uses within the park. And there are uses that fit the lifestyle and needs of a larger majority of people.

As far as being bigoted, Odin not only are you a bigot but you are a narrow-minded, lefist, neo-socialist hypocrite as well.

Anonymous said...

The project will offer skate-boarders from all over "one of the best municipal projects in New England".

That's nice. Where are the vast majority of people, who don't care for this, that use the park going to go to get away from this obnoxious activity?

Odin said...

"As far as being bigoted, Odin not only are you a bigot but you are a narrow-minded, lefist, neo-socialist hypocrite as well."

We agree on something!

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Funny answer...touche'


I've been banging this thing pretty hard. It's not the end of the world though. Maybe it'll work out.

I'm just not crazy about it because I have no interest in the activity and I'm certainly not enamored with the skater-boy culture. But it's better than the gangsta culture.

Anonymous said...

We promised them a place where they could break limbs, split skulls and tear off acres of skin so we should deliver on the promise.


Better them offing themselves there than waiting for them to get behind the wheel of a car and killing me .

Anonymous said...

Having a skatepark in your community is actually a very positive thing many towns across the country are embracing. Having a skatepark on your list of things to do is a very nice attraction in the age were living in right now. It actually helps the towns resume! yes believe it bristol residents, times change and so do childrens interests! Considering more kids are skateboarding than participating than any other sport, it makes sense to have a safe place for them to go ride without hassle, or even fines. (imagine a child getting a fine from a police officer for riding on a skateboard. you would rather find this acceptable? interesting.) Id also like to address the ignorant comments about "encouraging maiming and crippling of our children." Most of the sports that you probably approve of actually put the kids at a greater risk of injury. Theres actual stats to prove it as well. They have been brought to the towns attention about 7 years ago at meetings as well. If you actually cared about the safety of our children you might want to take a closer look at nearly every playground in your town. How about those shaky curved balance beams that are built for our already poorly coordinated 4 year olds that can hardly stand on their own, let alone a metal beam with twists and turns and is actually built to shake? Nobody cares about them. Yes, kids will be getting hurt at your skatepark however not nearly close to the amount of other injurys sports/playground activitys will produce. And it seems people are already complaining about thugs and the need for police to occupy their public park and the skatepark isnt even there!! And yet the idea of a skateboard park threatens you!? And for the person who said skateboarding attracts drug users and punks? The only subversive attitude they have is the one that you give them without even giving them a chance. Do you normally pass this kind of judgement when you see someone at first glance? When you see a person of race in large clothing do you write them off as a drug using thug as well? That kind of mentality is more dangerous to a community then any skateboarding kid will ever be, Ill tell you that much. And as far as financial issues are concerned you should feel refreshed about seeing money well spent on the youths interest. Or perhaps we should have lined more failing buisnesses and eye-sore littered streets with bricks? The children of your town will prove you wrong when the skatepark is built and maybe then Bristol can start coming together as a communtiy to try to make positive changes and investing interest in the future of our city that is our youth! Or maybe we can stay in this predetermined mindset that anything outside our norm is dangerous and filled with drugs and crime and our once great city of Bristol will continue its downward spiral...

Anonymous said...

Having a skatepark will keep the kids more occupied and away from more dangerous things. And FYI skateboarding does not attract drug users and thugs only people think that becuase some of them are like that not all of them are like that. Would u rather have your kid do drugs or get in trouble or out trying some new sport that will keep him away from illegal things like that? Also, a skatepark will lessen the damage done to town property.