BRATTLEBORO—Skateboarding enthusiasts are getting closer to having a legal, public place to skate.
The group Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming, also known as BASIC, recently received a $1,400 grant from the Crosby-Gannett Fund, and on July 11 the Selectboard authorized the group’s application for an additional $25,000 from the state.
Advisory Committee Chair Jeff Clark appeared at the July 11 Selectboard meeting to provide an update and ask the Board to approve and appropriate the Crosby-Gannett money and authorize BASIC to apply for the state grant from the Department of Buildings and General Services.
Clark told Board members the group has been getting “a lot of positive comments” from the public, especially at a table the group has set up during Gallery Walk.
The budget for the skatepark is $230,000, and the group still needs $124,000 to make it happen.
“We’re 46 percent of the way there,” Clark said.
Once BASIC has raised 75 percent of its budget, the group can begin reaching out to potential designers for the skatepark’s layout.
Clark mentioned a few upcoming fundraising events, and encouraged community members to donate in additional ways, including through the town’s Recreation and Parks Department, which will forward the funds to BASIC.
It has been a long, bumpy road for BASIC. The original plans for the park sited it at the Crowell Lot, until a contentious campaign by neighborhood residents thwarted its progress. A site was chosen — then rejected — on Elm Street. Finally, BASIC was able to secure a spot at the upper reaches of Living Memorial Park.
Selectboard member John Allen referenced these challenges at the July 11 meeting when he said, “for all the people who didn’t want it in Crowell Lot, in your back yard, it’s now at Living Memorial Park. It’s time to pay the piper.”
Clark noted “some of the [anti-Crowell Lot people] have contributed. And we thank any and all who have.”
“For the love of God, folks, contribute to this! In my lifetime I want to see this thing built,” Allen said.
“Second!” said his colleague, Brandie Starr.
“I want to try skateboarding before I die,” Allen said, “so I need a place to do it.”