SALISBURY — The city has started to focus on what its new Partridge Brook Park skate park will look like and is waiting for helpful feedback along the way.
The state awarded Salisbury a $400,000 Community Parks Acquisition and Renovation Grant last fall to begin work on Phase 2 of the Partridge Brook Park project.
Phase 1 of the Partridge Brook Park project saw the construction of playgrounds and a concession stand and was completed, in part thanks to another PARC grant of $400,000 six years ago.
City Assembly voters approved $265,000 last fall to match the state’s most recent $400,000 PARC grant in October. Planning for Phase 2 of the Partridge Brook Park project is underway.
Phase 2 would see the construction or completion of an additional utility playground and improved accessibility for people with disabilities to the playground, as well as the design and addition of a new skatepark.
Planning director Lisa Pearson said many residents are excited to complete the playgrounds, while an equal number want to see a new skate park built.
Former resident Austin Stevens, 25, used to skateboard around town growing up, but said offers weren’t optional in Salisbury.
“The current skate park is fun but it’s in bad shape,” Stevens said. “Most of the time we would either go to Newburyport or go to an indoor park that no longer exists in Rye, NH.”
Stevens and his friend Keenan Kealey brought their concerns to the city about six years ago.
“We floated the idea of having a new skatepark in the town of Salisbury,” Stevens said. “They turned out to be pretty okay with the idea. They were pretty happy with it. Basically, we’ve just been trying to get the money for it ever since.
Although the first phase of the Partridge Brook Park project could not accommodate a new skatepark at the time, a potential second phase would. The city recently hired Arizona-based Pillar Design to come up with four skate park scenarios that were presented to the public in a virtual meeting on Tuesday.
“Pillar is specifically skate park oriented,” Pearson said. “So this meeting specifically discussed skate park designs.”
Pillar presented four design concepts at the meeting, which have now been narrowed down to two, according to Pearson.
“We really had a good discussion about what would and wouldn’t work,” Pearson said. “We also talked about what was already in the area. Then we cut it down and send them out to the general public to get more opinions. Then we’ll probably end up with some type of hybrid between the two designs that are there. In this way, we can finally design it.
In addition to the two designs pictured for the skate park proposal, the designs can be found online at www.instagram.com/salisburyskateparkma so people with Instagram accounts can weigh in on them as well. Stevens asked people to take to the Instagram page, like a post or two, and share their comments.
“I would say both designs look really fun and there was a flood of people commenting on their feelings, thoughts and preferences on the Instagram page,” Stevens said. “So we try to base it on public opinion. We want to make as many people as possible happy with what we’re trying to do here.
Stevens added that he would like to see a park that offers plenty of flow.
“That way you can basically start in one area and go all over the park, reaching different features as you go,” Stevens said. “But things are really moving forward and it’s exciting to see. The city has been extremely, extremely open to the idea and very helpful every step of the way.
Once the design work is complete, the City will begin engineering the project before the end of the fiscal year in June.
“That way we can start construction on the different aspects of the project on July 1,” Pearson said. “Our plan is to build the playground separately because everything there is really ready to use. We would probably do this in July or August. We also want to do it as a community construction. Then we will put the rest competing in terms of site works, building playgrounds and all that as well.”
Pearson added that she would also like to take the drawings to pupils at nearby Salisbury Primary School.
“Hopefully we can get them to be more involved,” Pearson said.
Writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.