Parks board takes stock of potential skate spot

May 5 – Plans for a skating plaza at the planned Armory Park are advancing rapidly.

The Richmond Parks and Recreation Board voted on Tuesday to officially recommend the skate plaza to the city commission.

Building a skate plaza has become a hot topic among Richmond enthusiasts. Earlier this year, a petition with over 700 signatures asking for a skatepark was sent to Richmond City Manager Rob Minerich.

Last week, Minerich announced that plans for a skate plaza would be presented to the parks board due to demand.

“We tried to put something in place for the skateboarding community in this park,” Minerich said at a city commission meeting last week. “And after attending several parks board meetings and seeing the outcry that had been generated, we felt it was necessary.”

According to board members, if approved by the building commission, the skating plaza will be larger than originally planned.

“The dimension of the skate plaza is currently 1,200 square feet and we would probably try to at least double that; maybe get it to 3,000 square feet,” Minerich said. “If we’re going to do it, we want the skaters to actually have something they can use.”

Armory Park sits on a qualified census tract, allowing ARPA funds to be used for construction of the skate plaza.

“I think it’s within our budget,” Minerich said. “We have about $9,350,000 in ARPA money. It came out of the pandemic to be used for projects like this. I don’t want to give the impression that we have an unlimited check. But we have enough for that I think it’s good to make it (the skate plaza) bigger and absorb the cost.”

Several other plans for a skate park have been discussed over the years. At one point, a skate park was proposed for the Richmond Teen Center. There was also wooden skating equipment at Lake Reba Park, but it has worn out over time.

According to the parks board, placing the skate plaza in Armory Park is a strategic decision because it is close to downtown Richmond and Madison Central High School.

As for playground equipment at Armory Park, the council said it was aiming for equipment that also appealed to older children. Richmond Parks and Recreation Director Erin Moore likened the equipment to a “Ninja Warrior” obstacle course.

“High school and college kids are still just big kids,” Moore said. “So although it’s a play area, we anticipate older children will be playing on it. So we did it as a ‘Ninja Warrior’ style play area where there are rope courses and places to climb Lots of visibility We tried not to There are signs you couldn’t see through No covered slides There are things that could be vandalized but there are some Vandalism in each park We have tried to limit this by having elements that are not as easily damaged.

Although fencing is currently avoided for the majority of the park, the parks board have said they will be used for the play area part as it is close to the road.

Currently, the estimated cost of Armory Park is around $1.2 million.

The Board was also briefed on the proposed Goggins Lane Park project. Planning is still in its early stages, and monthly meetings are held to discuss the park’s final lineup, with Moore noting that the lay of the land the park will be located on is important.

“How far do the facilities have to be from the power lines? What can we put in there… We’re just trying to see what our initial thoughts are and they’re going to see if it can fit,” Moore said.

A completion date on Goggins Park is fluid, but Minerich gave a very rough estimate at completion.

“Best case scenario, and don’t hold me back on that, they’re going to try to do it in two packages,” Minerich said. “From phase one, I guess we would see – again best case scenario – dirt moving in the spring of 2023… If they start moving the dirt in the spring of 2023 and we get to phase two, I really think fall 2024 is what I’m shooting for.”

Other business:

—With a $30,000 grant from the National Fitness Campaign and a $90,000 land and water conservation grant, plus a $30,000 matching grant from the city, the Parks Department will begin soon to install an outdoor fitness area.

—Dreaming Creek Brewery, West 6th Brewery and Chenault Vineyards are in talks to bring food trucks to the Parks Department’s Fourth of July celebration.

—May’s Tasty Tuesday lineup is out:

May 10 — Kids Yoga will take place from 5-6 p.m., Scott T. Smith will perform, while Smoked Food Truck, Chuck Wagon, Drea’s Catfish Bucket and Poppy’s Ice Cream will provide the food.

May 17 — Karaoke from 7-9 p.m. The New Developments will perform while Comete Aguito, Piggin Out, Colonel Station and Poppin J’s Kettle Corn provide the food.

May 24 – Luke Trimble will perform, while Smoked Food Truck, Chuck Wagon, Fluffy Bellies BBQ and Cotton & Cone will provide the food.

May 31 – State Law will perform while Piggin Out, Drea’s Catfish Bucket, Colonel Station and Mad Scoops provide the food.

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