By Patrick Hedlund
DNAinfo News Editor
LOWER EAST SIDE — A plan to renovate a popular skateboard park beneath the Manhattan Bridge could include a state-of-the-art redesign and expansion of the existing space, project backers said.
The skate park, located directly under the bridge on Monroe Street next to Coleman Playground, recently received a grant to jump start improvements at the busy but ailing space.
Proponents of the project told Community Board 3 Thursday that they want to enlarge the current skate area by expanding it into an adjacent dog run, with the promise of relocating the run elsewhere within the green space.
"They really want a modern skate park," said Steve Rodriguez, founder of 5boro Skateboards, who won funding for the project after applying for a grant through the GameChangers Sports Micro-Venture Fund, a partnership between Nike Inc. and the nonprofit Architecture for Humanity.
Other design goals include epaving the park's dirty and slippery asphalt surface; reuse and replacement of existing obstacles in the park; better integration of the fenced-off skate area into the larger park space; and the addition of multifunctional elements, like skate-able furniture, to encourage more use by non-skaters.
Rodriguez, a frequent visitor to the park who's helped design other skate spots across the city, wants to "create a park that's more heavy-duty and New York style" to accommodate riders from all five boroughs who travel to Coleman on a regular basis.
The loss last year of the legendary Brooklyn Banks skate park under the Brooklyn Bridge has made the enhancements at Coleman even more critical, he added, given the lack of dedicated skate areas downtown.
While the amount of funding for the project has not yet been disclosed, a representative from Architecture for Humanity said more details will be made public next week.