A 2.5-acre park that straddles Boerum Hill, Carroll Gardens, Park Slope and Gowanus is being touted as a strong candidate for the borough’s second permanent skateboard park.
About 10 skateboard enthusiasts showed up at a recent Friends of Douglass/Greene Park community listening session to advocate making a portion of the park into a skateboard Mecca.
“We’ve been petitioning for another skateboard park in Brooklyn for a long time. The only one is Owl’s Head, which is in Bay Ridge and too far from Downtown Brooklyn,” said Patrick Wenzler, manager for the Homage skateboard shop, 151 Smith Street.
Wenzler envisioned the skateboard park to have several different ramp areas to accommodate beginning, intermediate and advanced skaters.
The move also comes about two months after the Brooklyn Academy of Music held its annual Afro-Punk Festival, which drew several thousand urban skaters for the week-long event.
Thomas Greene Park is bounded by Nevins, DeGraw and Douglass streets, and 3rd Avenue.
Homage has already held one ‘Skate Day’ this year and Friends of the Douglass/Greene Park will sponsor a second from 1-4 p.m., Oct. 19.
Sue Wolfe, president of both the Boerum Hill Association and the Friends of Douglass/Greene Park, said there is currently no open space in Boerum Hill and the park is underutilized.
Both groups have been advocating on behalf of the park and have received a $900,000 allocation toward its renovation through Borough President Marty Markowitz and City Councilmembers Bill de Blasio and David Yassky’s offices.
Wolfe said upon putting up notices, the owners of the Homage shop immediately expressed interest.
“These kids want a skate park and they responded,” said Wolfe. “The point is this park was designed a long time ago and it’s not a destination any more, but it could be because these kids want a place to skate.”
Brooklyn Parks Department Chief of Staff Martin Maher, who helped organize the community listening session held at the Bethel Baptist Church, 265 Bergen Street, said to renovate the park properly would take about $6 million.
“Don’t worry about the price tag tonight,” he instructed those present, who were then broken into smaller groups. “We’re just looking for ideas.”
The last renovation completed in the park cost $213,659 through former Borough President Howard Golden’s office and paid for the installation of new play equipment, safety surfacing and handball courts.
“Nine-hundred-thousand dollars in a park this size doesn’t do a lot of things, but it’s a start and we can do a phase one,” said Maher. “In a phase one we can do a conceptual cost output, and do a scope given the community’s wants and needs.”
Maher said once a scope of the project is completed it usually takes a year for the process to go through the process including design and various approvals.
“Most projects are a year in design and a year in construction,” he said.
Maher also said he was thrilled to see the large attendance of youthful skaters at the visioning session.
“It doesn’t surprise me because this group [Friends of Douglass/Greene Park] understand who uses the park, and we love to see when kids turn out for the park because they are the front line of people who use them,” he said.
©2008 Community News Group
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