With a site chosen, a group working to create a new skate park in South Portland is hoping to get the project going in earnest. Courtesy / Pillar Design Studios

SOUTH PORTLAND — The committee charged with finding a location for a new skate park will ask the City Council to approve locating the facility at High School Park at the corner of Nelson and Mountain View roads.

The chosen site is adjacent to both the high school and the community center. The council will discuss the recommendation at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 2.

Anthony Johnson, the city’s recreation operations manager, said High School Park offers “great visibility and accessibility, which is very important.” He said no park will be successful if it’s not located “in the hub of the community.”

Skateboarding is so popular with local youth that South Portland is working to create a new skate park in the city. Courtesy

“It’s where the kids are anyway,” Johnson said. “It’s a place people frequent, it has ample parking and a great landscape.”

Consultant Pillar Design Studios, of Arizona, notes the location has the potential for expansion.

After council approval, Johnson said the committee would then be able to start the next steps, including crucial fundraising. The project is expected to cost between $350,000 and $450,000, he said in a memo provided to councilors.

Johnson said even if the City Council approves the project next month, “there’s still a lot to be done, so realistically we won’t break ground until the summer of 2021.”

Johnson said the city has been toying with the idea of a new skate park since at least the early 2000s, and the need has been raised  multiple times because “there’s a lot of kids who skate.”

“A skate park in South Portland would not only provide a place for users of all ages to make new friends, express their creativity, learn self-respect, and stay healthy through physical exercise, but it will also help to bring the community together,” he wrote in the memo.

Johnson said Pillar Design Studios evaluated each possible site based on criteria such as noise impact, cost, amenities, expansion opportunities and natural aesthetics “and identified High School Park as the preferred option.”

In materials provided to the council, Pillar Design Studios said High School Park also “exhibits great branding opportunities, as well as the opportunity to tell the history of the (park) and its connection to the high school. This site allows us to use its natural topography and existing vegetation within the overall design.”

“While being rooted in the community and connected to amenities, the South Portland skate park will also be accessible to surrounding communities as a destination for all skill levels and types of riders, with an inclusive environment that integrates, skateboards, bikes, scooters and the outdoors,” the company added.

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