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East Harlem Skateboarders Agree on $650K Park Design

By Gustavo Solis | December 15, 2014 8:43am
 The $650,000 park will be located in Thomas Jefferson Park.
East Harlem Skate Park
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EAST HARLEM — If you build it, they will skate.

The Parks Department is designing a $650,000 skate park for Thomas Jefferson Park.

“The design is awesome,” said skateboarder Alex Sanchez, 25. “I see this park being a hot spot.”

The facility, which will go on the northeast corner of the park, stretches about half an acre and includes ramps, grind rails and ledges. All of the elements will be made of concrete and be colored reddish brown, said Leslie Peoples, one of the designers.

Because it’s part of a multi-site project, the Parks Department could not say when it will be open for use. The design is expected to be completed in the spring, Peoples said.

Currently, the only local options skaters have in the area are empty basketball courts and parking lots. If they want to go to an actual skate park they go downtown or to Astoria, said Justin Hunter, 17.

“I’d be out here every day,” he added.  

Skaters met with Peoples and representatives from the Parks Department Thursday to go over the design. Although the skateboarders seemed to approve of most elements of the park, they did have one issue — trees.

“We don’t need trees," Sanchez said. "We can’t skate on trees.”

The design calls for shade trees at one edge of the park, but skaters said they believe that space could be better utilized.

“There should be a mini-ramp where the trees are,” Hunter suggested.

To make room for the skate park, some of the volleyball courts in Thomas Jefferson Park will be removed, Peoples said.

The park will be an unsupervised skate park so all of the elements — ramps and rails — will be shorter then 3-feet, she added.

Part of the design includes adding benches and trees to the park. There may also be a small chain linked fence separating the park and the adjacent basketball courts.

Funding for the skate park came from City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's office, Parks officials said.