Residents shared their thoughts on the design of the skate park to be built at Twiggs Park at the final public meeting on Tuesday.
At the meeting, the design team presented the final design for Evanston’s first permanent skatepark. It will have four zones: the entrance zone, the middle street zone, the advanced bowling zone and the beginner bonus zone.
The final design, created by consultants from Teska Associates, Spohn Ranch and Christopher B. Burke Engineering, features benches, picnic tables, and concrete seating walls, some of which are designed to be weatherable.
Skate park designer Vince Onel said the emphasis on seating will make the skate park a community space.
“It will be more than just a skate park,” Onel said. “It will be a space where even if you don’t skate or ride a bike or scooter, you can come here and just hang out, watch and enjoy your activity.”
The skate park design team will now draft the construction documents that the city will issue to companies wishing to build the project. The companies will then engage in a competitive bidding process, where they will petition the city for the contract.
Jodi Mariano, the principal landscape architect at consultancy group Teska Associates, said the team will use feedback from Tuesday’s meeting in the construction brief the city will release for the tender.
However, some residents have expressed concern. Michael Hoff of Evanston Skates asked how the city will ensure that the execution of the construction of the skate park will match the “high quality” design.
Eric Pitt, co-founder of Evanston Skates told The Daily in April the group feared that Evanston would contract a company that lacked expertise in skate park construction. Pitt said fear that the city would build a “shitty park” with fundamental construction issues mobilized the group to attend skate park meetings.
In response, Stefanie Levine, the city’s senior project manager, said there will be a prequalification process before the bidding begins to confirm that the companies all have experience with skate parks.
“We’re not going into the bidding process with unknowns like that,” Levine said. “We are aware that this is very important, and we only have one chance to get it right.”
Evanston resident Patrick Hageman expressed concern about the proximity of rest areas to where people would skate.
“I’m also just imagining boards flying off the end of the ledge, and a kid sitting at that picnic table,” Hageman said. “People lose track of (boards) when they kick or fall, and you can’t always prevent where they go.”
Mariano said the team will look into Hageman’s concern.
Mariano said the final design plan also includes the addition of a plaque honoring the park’s namesake, William Twiggs. Twiggs, who died in 1960, held many positions in Evanston’s government in the early 20th century. He also worked as a barber, printer, and editor of the “African American Budget,” a nationwide periodical.
Mariano said community members also suggested honoring a pioneer in the Evanston skating community on the plaque – Carl McCalla, who died in 2004 and was the only black member of the Tom Thumb d ‘Evanston in the late 1970s.
With construction of the skate park set to begin in the spring of 2023 and be completed in November of the same year, organizers say it should centralize a growing community of skaters in Evanston.
Hageman said he and his son were getting ready for the park.
“I’m super excited about this,” Hageman said. “My big guy practiced riding a big boy bike and his skateboard to prepare for this.”
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