Skate park proposal hinges on public support

If a skate park is ever going to be constructed in Scripter Park, it’s going to require a high level of public interest and involvement.
Residents are being asked to attend the 7 p.m. Dec. 1 meeting of the Oxford Village Parks and Recreation Committee at the administration building on W. Burdick St. and give their input regarding the possibility of building a skate park in Scripter Park, behind the baseball fields and immediately next to the old Smith Silo facility at 98 Glaspie St.
“If we don’t get a good turnout and commitment from the public (at the meeting), it’s gonna die,” said village Manager Mark Slown. “I would hate to see that happen because I think this really would be good for the kids.”
Although it’s referred to as a “skate park,” it would actually be a multi-purpose facility for biking, rollerblading, skateboarding, basketball and “possibly other activities as well,” according to a Nov. 10 letter recently mailed to all village residents.
“The skate park would be open to the general public, and use would be ‘at your own risk.’ The Village of Oxford has verified that there will be no additional insurance cost for the facility,” the letter stated.
A “combination of tax dollars, private donations and, if possible, grants” would be used to pay for the skate park’s construction, according to the letter.
But in order to get the ball rolling, Slown said the community has to show a “substantial commitment” to the skate park to “make it happen.”
“How much public interest is out there is going to make a big difference as to whether this project will continue to move forward,” the manager said. “There’s no way the parks and rec. committee is going to spend time on this if the community’s not interested. They’ll (committee members) move on and the focus will shift somewhere else.”
That’s why the “more people” who attend the Dec. 1 meeting “the better,”said Slown, adding he would “like to see a mix” of kids, parents and other concerned adults.
Due to staffing and administration constraints at the village, Slown said the project must be a largely volunteer-driven effort.
Volunteers would be needed for planning, design, fund-raising, grant work, construction, etc.
Although no specific details regarding the skate park have been worked out, the “tenative location” in Scripter Park has “a lot of advantages,” according to Slown.
The “biggest” advantage is the fact the proposed location sits “right in the middle” of Scipter Park, so any noise generated by the skate park shouldn’t disturb the surrounding residential areas.
“I think the closest house is 300 feet or more (away from the proposed site),” Slown said.
Another advantage to the site is its “hilly ground.”
“Instead of moving a lot of earth” to construct the skate park, Slown said the “natural contours” could be used to create “ramps and jumps.”
The manager noted that the skate park’s close proximity to the baseball fields, playground and beach would contribute to the park’s diverse recreational opportunities for families with kids of all ages and help make Scripter Park a “destination for people.”