BASIC learns that proposed skatepark will be more expensive than planned

BRATTLEBORO — Unless the numbers from the designer are way off, the proposed municipally-owned skatepark slated for Living Memorial Park needs a lot more money.

Jeff Clark of BASIC (Brattleboro Area Skatepark is Coming) and Recreation & Parks Department Director Carol Lolatte appeared at the Dec. 4 regular Selectboard meeting to provide an update and seek approval for a grant application to help fund the project.

The week before, Clark and Lolatte had received “very preliminary, very conservative” numbers on the cost of building the skatepark, Clark said.

It's more than they expected.

Clark explained that earlier in the planning process, the Tony Hawk Federation quoted BASIC a cost of $46 per square foot to build a municipal skatepark. As of August, the federation stood by its numbers.

Figures from Stantec, the firm designing the skatepark, show costs closer to $70 per square foot.

“There's a disconnect between these two groups,” said Clark, who noted, “we did our homework throughout the years” of planning the skatepark.

Lolatte has had numerous telephone conversations with the designers at Stantec, and has told them to “sharpen it up!” she said. Lolatte has asked them to remove unnecessary elements from the design, and instructed them to retain anything required for local and state permits.

She told the Board she wanted to warn them about Stantec's high numbers “so it's not sticker shock when we go out to bid” on the park's construction.

To help bridge the $75,000-$85,000 gap between the $230,000 BASIC has raised, and what Stantec said they will need for the project, Lolatte and Clark want to apply for a state grant.

The Selectboard unanimously approved Recreation & Parks to apply for the $85,000 grant, on behalf of BASIC.

The grant would come from the Vermont Outdoor Recreation and Economic Collaborative, which is part of the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

Finance Committee member Franz Reichsman asked what will happen if the town doesn't receive the grant.

“Will there be a redesign of the skatepark to fit with the available funds?” Reichsman asked.

“That's what we're doing right now” in negotiating with Stantec, Lolatte said.

The news about the higher costs is “disappointing,” Selectboard member Tim Wessel said. “It's another bump in the long, long road of the skatepark."

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