By DON STINE
Kids in Neptune will have a new skateboard park if the township is successful in getting a $250,000 county open space grant to help create it.
“It is an ideal place for this project with minimum maintenance but offering a lifetime of enjoyment,” Township Engineer LeAnne Hoffman said during a special presentation at this week’s Township Committee meeting.
The skateboard park would be in the Sunshine Village Park Fields, off Asbury Park Blvd. and Pine Drive, adjacent to existing basketball courts. The 60- by 100-foot project, for a total of 6,000-square-feet, would include concrete skating bowls, railings, steps, benches, landscaping and buffers. The park would be designed for novice to intermediate skateboarders.
The committee unanimously voted to approve submitting an application to the Monmouth County Municipal Open Space program to create the park. The total $466,444 cost of the project would be offset by the $250,000 grant, the maximum amount under the open space program. The remaining amount would be bonded.
“It’s all in the preliminary stages right now. We hope to move the project forward with even more grants and provide more recreation in the township,” Committeeman Nick Williams said.
Creating a skateboard park was been on the agenda of governing officials and the public for several years, especially after residents complained that unruly skateboarders were ruining parks, benches, and walls at parks, including the new Midtown Commons Park. Some residents have advocated creating such a centralized skateboard park to prevent damage by skateboarders at other parks.
Skateboard park supporter Carrie Turner said on Monday that she was “really touched” by the adults and kids that came together at the skateboard park created in the old Casino building in Asbury Park.
Turner, who is the former general manager for Asbury Park boardwalk redeveloper Madison Marquette, said the company made the decision to put the skateboard park in the old carousel building and that it has always been a “self-policing and cooperate effort.”
“This sport appeals to those that do not want to participate in group sports. And I applaud you for wanting to add this to your park program,” she said.
Resident Michael Goleb said he very much supports creating the skateboard park but that the “onus” on creating it will be with the governing body.
“It will now need the proper supervision and programming. You deserve a tremendous amount of credit for doing this,” he said.
He also suggested some video surveillance be installed at the park.
Midtown Urban Renaissance Corporation President Dianna Harris said the new skateboard park is long overdue.
“It is needed in the community and will be enjoyed by the residents,” she said.
She did suggest that the township open better lines of communication with residents living near the park for more community input.
Hoffman said plans for the park may be “tweaked” after the project seeks input from other major skateboard organizations and professionals.
The deadline for filing the application is Sept. 20. Insurance for the park would be covered under the township’s general insurance policy, similar to that in other township parks.