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Skate park supporters hope DRB approval will boost fundraising efforts

BRATTLEBORO—Now that the Development Review Board (DRB) has approved the site plan for a proposed 12,000-square-foot concrete skate park, what is the next step for BASIC (Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming), the nonprofit group that has the prime mover for the project?

On July 18, the DRB approved the skate park proposal. It is slated to be built at the Crowell Lot, a town playground on Western Avenue.

BASIC president David Longsmith said that the big obstacle to building the park remains fundraising. Construction costs are estimated at nearly $300,000.

“We have over $40,000 pledged and donated to date, and are awaiting word on our application to the Tony Hawk Foundation for a $25,000 grant,” said Longsmith.

Longsmith said the hope is that now that the project has been approved by the DRB, it will be easier for BASIC to seek grants for the project.

All the money for the skate park will come through public donations and grants. No tax dollars will be spent.

The process to select a company to design and build the skate park will begin “once we have raised a little bit more money,” said Longsmith. “The RFP [request for proposal] will be issued following the guidelines of the town’s RFP process.”

Noise has been one of the main objections of neighbors who oppose putting the park at the Crowell Lot, which has been controlled by the town School Board since the Crowell family donated the land in the 1940s.

In a sound study that BASIC conducted at the park on July 9, the group found noise from skateboarders was below 70 decibels, the maximum volume permitted under town ordinances.

“The DRB has addressed the neighbors’ concerns,” said Longsmith. “BASIC has received tremendous support for this project from the School Board, the Selectboard, the Recreation & Parks Department director and board, the town manager, and the community at large. We remain committed to working with all interested parties to make sure that this project succeeds.”

Longsmith said that BASIC is working under some time constraints.

The lease between the town and the School Board set a deadline of five years to complete the project, starting from June 2010, when the lease was signed.

BASIC meets on the first and third Thursdays of the month in the Municipal Building’s Hannah Cosman Meeting Room. E-mail for more details and exact starting time.

Donations may be sent to BASIC, P.O. Box 1063, Brattleboro, VT 05301.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #111 (Wednesday, July 27, 2011).

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