Council hears skate park proposal

By Thomas Howard thoward@themeridianstar.comApr 13, 2022

meridian city hall
The Meridian City Council is considering a proposal to build a skate park within the city limits.
In a work session Tuesday, Ward 5 Councilwoman Ty Bell Lindsey told the council she had spoken with local skateboarders and felt a skate park would bring a needed recreational opportunity to Meridian.
“Skating brings so much to the community,” she said.

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Skate parks are not common across much of the Southeast, Lindsey said, and building one in Meridian would also serve as a draw to bring skateboarders, inline skaters and others to town.
Julia Norman, who manages the city’s Government Affairs, said there were several grants the city could apply for to help fund the park’s construction.
“There is some funding available through some different resources,” she said. “And we’ll talk with the Tony Hawk Foundation, and they can assist us in finding some other funds.”
However, Norman said, the park would need to be designed before the city could  begin applying for those funds.
The council heard from American Ramp Company, which designs and builds skateboard and action parks across the world, about how much it would cost to design and build Meridian’s skate park.
A proposal sent to Lindsey and Community Development Director Craig Hitt from American Ramp Company put the cost of designing the park at $16,500. Total construction costs could range between $400,000 and $800,000.
Although the city could find funding to help with part of the construction costs, Lindsey said the city would need to pay for the design itself.

“We just need to be able to have a concept and design so we can go out and market and get those grants that’s already available,” she said.
Council members plan to review the design proposal and decide whether to invest the funds to move the project forward.
Skateparks in other cities
City of Oxford Parks Commission Director Seth Gaines said Wednesday the North Mississippi city sees plenty of use out of its skatepark.
Oxford first built its skatepark in 2004 or 2005, Gaines said, and it continues to see frequent use. In fact, he said, the Parks Commission is discussing plans to expand and upgrade its park with new technologies.
“I don’t know if there’s any time you can go out there and not see someone,” he said.
With the closest skateparks to Oxford being in Tupelo and Hernando, each about an hour away, Gaines said Oxford does see some out of town visitors coming to skate at the city facility.
From his experience, Gaines said skateparks do not require a lot of upkeep. Some modular pieces of skate equipment have bolts, steel and such that require some maintenance, he said, but concrete obstacles and other permanent structures are virtually maintenance free.
Most maintenance, Gaines said, is spent removing the occasional graffiti from the park, and not on repairs of the park itself.
Being home to the University of Mississippi, Oxford’s experience with a skatepark may be slightly different than Meridian, Gaines said, but he was willing to share his city’s experience to help Meridian leaders make an informed decision.

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