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Brattleboro to reopen siting process for skatepark

Interested candidates should submit an application to the town manager’s office by the end of business on Nov. 14. The board will interview and appoint committee members on Nov. 19.

BRATTLEBORO—By a 4-1 vote, with John Allen opposed, the Brattleboro Selectboard approved a request to form a Skate Park Site Selection Committee to evaluate locations in town to build a skateboard park.

The request was made by Brattleboro Area Skatepark Is Coming (BASIC), the current committee overseeing the proposed construction of a skatepark at the Crowell Lot on Western Avenue.

Selectboard chair David Gartenstein stressed that the Crowell Lot site, the source of much controversy over the past couple of years, is still on the list.

The seven-member town committee will develop criteria for the skatepark location, then rank potential sites as they meet each criterion.

The new committee’s meetings, site visits, and determination of rankings would be open to the public.

In a letter to the board, BASIC members wrote that, “Considering the climate of discord that has hindered the progress of the development of the project at the Crowell Lot, the members of BASIC have voted to recommend to the Selectboard that a site-selection committee be formed. We believe that an open site-selection process is the only way to combat the misinformation and contentiousness that has developed over what will be an attractive town resource.”

Re-Site the Skatepark spokesperson Andy Davis said the group supported a new site selection process. He said that it could reopen community dialogue and would not be a step backward.

Indeed, he said, “It’s the only way forward.”

BASIC vice-chair Linda Whelihan said BASIC had met with Re-Site, which said it would support the site evaluation committee’s final recommendation even if the committee recommends the Crowell Lot.

Allen expressed his frustration at seeing another committee being formed:

“Again, I just have a hard time with vocal minorities controlling how things happen in this town.”

His comment was met with booing from audience members at the back of the room.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #228 (Wednesday, November 6, 2013). This story appeared on page A1.

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