Hopkinton debates skate park project over cost concerns

SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

Hopkinton’s Spirit Skate Park is in dire need of repairs, but the select board is hesitant to approve the project due to its hefty price tag.

Hopkinton’s Spirit Skate Park is in dire need of repairs, but the select board is hesitant to approve the project due to its hefty price tag. SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN / Monitor staff

SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN—

By SRUTHI GOPALAKRISHNAN

Monitor staff

Published: 07-09-2024 4:53 PM

Modified: 07-09-2024 5:11 PM


Hopkinton’s Spirit Skate Park is in dire need of repairs, but the select board is hesitant to approve the project due to its hefty price tag. Even the most economical options would cost around $200,000, leading the board to suggest fundraising efforts.

Selectboard member Ken Traum, after reviewing the price tags, noted that the project would have to wait until the next town meeting

He cited the need to understand “if there are other essential areas that have to be addressed” in the recreational facilities, such as the George Park fields, before spending on the skate park.

However, Paula Simpkins from the town’s recreational department stressed the urgency of addressing the issues in the skate park, noting that there is only so much that can be repaired. She explained that fixing a small hole in one of the ramps often creates a bigger hole and reveals the rot underneath.

“Over the years, it seems, it’s getting harder to fix,” said Simpkins at Monday’s select board meeting. “Just taking a proactive approach, so it’s not shut down and you are not in that crisis point.”

For next year’s budget, $200,000 has been allocated to update and maintain all recreational facilities in town. However, even the least expensive option for the skate park, which includes lower ramps than the existing ones, comes with a price tag of $192,538 — nearly the entire amount set aside for all recreational facilities in town.

The preferred option suggested by American Ramp Company features metal ramps with a 20-year warranty priced at $343,228.

But that was almost immediately shot down by the select board for the price.

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The skate park’s need for updates was first raised in January, with residents passionately expressing their deep connection to it during the meeting.

Located on Park Avenue, this skate park holds sentimental value for Hopkinton residents.

It was opened in 2003 in memory of two Hopkinton friends, Rob Carr and Jake Shumway, who tragically lost their lives when a snow cave collapsed, burying them.

In 2016, the skate park briefly closed due to urgent repairs, leading the community to raise $15,000 for its restoration. Since then, maintenance has relied heavily on volunteers and community support.

Now, the skate park is again showing signs of wear, with estimates suggesting it may remain usable for another year or two if conditions hold.

In addressing these challenges, Sabrina Dunlap, the select board chair, acknowledged that the select board faces difficult decisions concerning proposed repair costs and meeting the public demand for the skate park.

“It seems like we do not have a lot of time to decide whether we’re going to move forward with a redo or at some point we are looking at just having to take it down or close it because it’s dangerous and becomes a liability,” said Dunlap.

While a decision hasn’t been made, the select board is leaning toward pursuing fundraising as the most economical option.

“That probably won’t happen until the skate park has caution tape around it, and it’s closed down,” said Simpkins. “That was how the fundraising happened last time.”