The ball is rolling on a skate park at Oakridge Park in Golden Meadow that could be completed as soon as this fall.
Mayor Joey Bouziga, members of the town council and a representative with park designer Spohn Ranch Skateparks hosted about two dozen citizens at the town hall on Wednesday afternoon for a brief meeting and workshop designed to go over the specifics for the park, which will be built at Oakridge Park on a $250,000 budget.
Questions about the park’s details were answered during the approximately 30-minute meeting, and local skate lovers met with Spohn Ranch Design and Development agent Vincent Onel and local engineer John Plaisance to gather input on how the park should look.
Bouziga said he’s anxious to see the project come to fruition. So, too, are the skaters – some of whom said they’ve been waiting for a project like this locally for as much as 15 years.
“We’re going to do this project,” Bouziga said, “We’re excited to see it come to light. It will happen and we’re looking forward to it.”
“I think Golden Meadow is a good site for a project like this,” Onel added. “We want to get everyone’s thoughts and make sure that this is a place that fits the needs and skill levels of the skaters in your area.”
The project’s design is still in its infancy stages and no set layout or theme has been created, which is the purpose for the meetings. But Golden Meadow is working with arguably one of the best companies in the world to make the project come to light.
Spohn Ranch has designed parks for elite, worldwide venues, including ESPN’s X-Games. The company also has rich roots in Louisiana, having recently created parks in New Orleans and also the $800,000 facility that was recently opened in Houma.
Plaisance said the project will occupy a strip of grass around the pool area of the park – a 20,000 square foot plot of land.
Budget restraints will only allow the park to occupy about 5,000-6,000 square feet of that land during its infancy. But the option to expand will always be present if more money becomes available and/or if the demand for more park space outweighs its initial supply of skaters.
“The site was chosen with possible expansion in mind,” Plaisance said. “That is an option that we always have to explore.”
After giving a PowerPoint presentation that showed some of the other parks that Spohn Ranch has created, Onel focused his attention toward making sure that the local project was what local skaters wanted. Everyone in attendance was asked to fill out a survey, which gauged the person’s skill and interests in regards to the look of the park.
Onel also encouraged folks to become part of a private Facebook group titled ‘Golden Meadow Skatepark’, which will house open discussion and planning throughout the phases of the project’s development.
He said that no matter what, the park will feature equipment that will make all skaters feel welcome – from beginners to intermediates all the way to advanced riders.
The survey also inquired about scooters, bikes and other equipment that can be used in a park.
“Whatever the survey results say is how we will build,” Onel said. “We’re gathering your interests, gathering data and then we’ll make it happen.”
So the question is inevitable with a project like this: What happens if someone gets hurt?
Bouziga said the park has liability insurance, which means that the town will be liable if a rider gets injured because of faulty park equipment that wasn’t fixed under the town’s watch.
But outside of that, individuals are going to be on their own, as long as the park displays a sign explaining that skateboarding is a dangerous sport and that all skaters must use the equipment at their own risk.
“You’re on your own,” Bouziga said.
Once exploratory information is gathered on the design, it won’t take long for the park to come to life. Once bidding is done on the final design chosen, all it will take is “about 45-60 days” to build the park from scratch.
Plaisance said in a perfect world, the project could be completed by the end of 2015, but any delays like bad weather or an active hurricane season could push that timetable back further.
Posted on Fri, July 10, 2015
by Gazette staff reports