Evanston City Council hosts discussion on new skate park designs

Land architects presented initial concepts for Evanston’s first skate park and heard feedback from residents at a public forum on Tuesday.

Representatives from Teska Associates, an urban planning and design firm in Evanston, presented three initial concepts for the skate park. All designs incorporated bowls, quarter pipes and pump bumps based on the results of a community survey last month.

Concept A and Concept C differed in the location of the bike path and the arrangement of other skate features. Concept B has divided the skate park into two areas: one for beginners and one for advanced skaters.

After the architects discussed the concepts, the city allowed meeting attendees to vote on which concept they preferred. Concept C won the most votes for its layout of skate features, with many praising it in the poll for having the best flow.

Evanston resident and skater James Haberl said he didn’t vote for Concept B because dividing up the skate park might prevent new skaters from meeting more experienced skaters.

“Dividing the skate park into two halves means beginners may never be exposed to more advanced skating skills,” Haberl said. “It’s not going to be ideal for the community in the long run.”

The skate park will be built at the east end of Twiggs Park in the 5th arrondissement.

Jodi Mariano, principal urban designer at Teska Associates, said the designers wanted to promote the inclusion of people with different skill levels and interests.

“We hope the skate park will welcome people of all ages, skills and wheels,” Mariano said. “Skateboarders, longboarders, roller skaters, cyclists…they can all come to the park to forge a larger community.”

City Council will hold two more meetings to refine concepts and present the final vision ahead of the bidding and negotiation processes, which are scheduled for September.

Stefanie Levine, the city’s senior project manager, said the city hopes to open the skate park in the fall of 2023.

Levine said proposals such as adding restrooms and a snake course would not be feasible due to the project’s limited budget. Nevertheless, Levine remained hopeful that these ideas could be implemented and that more skate parks could be built in the future. She encouraged residents to continue to bring their interests to the city council.

“Building this skate park is just the first step,” Levine said. “Ultimately, skate parks can become another type of equipment that we add, just like a playground or a basketball park. There is a process for this, and you should continue to follow this path.

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