Delayed construction of new Oak Island skate park leaves more time for public input


OAK ISLAND, NC (WECT) – Matt Troetti, owner of Never Ever Boards in Oak Island, seems to have one question more than any other – and it’s not his merchandise or his inventory.

“It’s probably a daily question. What’s going on with the park? When are we going to get the park back? Do you know anything about the park? said Troetti. “The excitement hasn’t gone away.”

Hurricane Isaias hit Oak Island in August 2020, flattening dunes and flooding streets.

The Kevin Bell Skate Park could not escape destruction. It was so damaged that it had to be leveled to the ground. All that’s left is a concrete slab that has taken over larger projects, Troetti said.

“We were working hard to try to bring the park back, but the main focus of the city was to feed the beach,” he said. “They were trying to fix the island after the hurricane, and rightly so, and the skate park really took a back seat at that point.”

To bring the matter to the attention of the city council, Troetti launched a petition to rebuild the park which has managed to accumulate more than 1,500 signatures.

“Really push to get things on the agenda to make it a goal and show the city like ‘Hey there are people interested in this’ so we did our best to attract so many attention as possible, “he said. “And the proof was kinda in the pudding of the interest people wanted this park to come back.”

The good news: Oak Island budgeted $ 300,000 for the new skate park and also just awarded a contract to designer Artisan Skateparks to do the job.

The bad news: Even skate park designers are not immune to pandemic challenges.

“Once we started talking with the designer and really seeing where they were at with their construction crews and just – sadly looking at the way the world is right now when it comes to shortages of materials and workforce, you know, it quickly became clear that this was “This isn’t going to happen as fast as we had hoped,” said Mike Emory, director of communications for Oak Island.

Originally, the city wanted to inaugurate the new skate park in the spring, but construction will now not begin until the fall.

But “there are positives in every situation,” Troetti said.

“Now, with them starting in September, it will allow for more planning until then. No more contributions from the public and the community until then, ”he said.

City council will hold a meeting for public comment in January or February, according to Emory, so everyone can have their say on what they would like the skate park to have.

“In the future, we’re going to start doing public consultation meetings to get ideas and just, you know, general concepts from the public on what they would like to get out of it. The designer is then going to take that and incorporate it into some designs that they are going to provide, ”Emory said.

Troetti is holding a raffle at his skate shop to try and generate more funds to add to the town’s $ 300,000.

These funds all go to the first phase of the project. A pump runway is envisioned in a separate second phase to be launched at a later date.

City leaders also plan to keep the name of the skate park. It is dedicated to the late Kevin Bell, who was the catalyst for building the skate park on the island, according to the Oak Island Recreation Department. The skate park was in fact one of the first in the state.

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