The land, in front of the Community Center on Nelson Road and across from South Portland High School, that the City Council approved a portion of to be made into a skate park. Catherine Bart photo

SOUTH PORTLAND — The community is invited to weigh in on a design for the future skate park, expected to accommodate serious athletes, casual skaters and public onlookers.

On Feb. 4, at the Community Center, on 21 Nelson Road, Pillar Design Studios, the company that the city of South Portland has consulted with throughout the process, will be showcasing three possible designs for a skate park at 320 Evans St.

Brad Siedlecki of Pillar Design Studios said that the designs he will present address the city officials’ wishes.

“We come in for a public round-table discussion and we listen to what the community wants,” he said. “We sit and talk about what they want, both on the user end and the non user, like community members or a mom or dad who drops their kids off. We take notes and we join that along with what the city wants.”

The town council approved the park’s location — across from the high school and Community Center — on Jan. 14, after a workshop on Jan. 2, where Anthony Johnson, appointed skate park committee member and recreations operations manager, proposed the site that Pillar Design Studios recommended.

“I think it’s a perfect location, already a high-traffic area,” said Johnson. “Having that park visible and part of the whole complex is an asset for the community. Everyone will get to see how cool it looks. People may want to watch and learn more about skateboarding.”

The public should expect the designs to include “features that are going to benefit (all kinds of people), from early beginners, skateboarders, scooter riders, to advance (riders),” said Johnson.

The committee is now in the next steps of the process, coming up with a design and then fundraising for the costs, which Johnson said on the Jan. 2 meeting, would be between $350,000 and $450,000. The park is expected to be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet.

So far, the response has been positive, said Johnson.

Mayor Katherine Lewis said that she believes the location is “exactly the right one.”

“I think it validates skating as a sport and it’s totally visible and safe,” she said. “I think there were 20-50 (sites) that were first reviewed and rejected, so I’m convinced this has been vetted the right way.”

On the Jan. 14 meeting, the councilors expressed concern about tree removal at the park.

“We’re heard from a couple of people concerned about cutting down trees but not nearly as many as I thought would have came out in opposition,” said Johnson. “The school board is on board — they just want to be involved in the design process. But we haven’t had anyone speak outright against it.”

Johnson said that the skate park committee takes concerns seriously.

“The committee is completely aware of the value of trees and we’re going to do our best to keep as many trees up, and if we do need to cut down trees, we will plant new ones,” he said.

“The goal is to minimize site disturbance and maximize budget,” said Siedlecki. He added that one of the three designs wouldn’t need to cut down any trees.

Pillar Design Studios has worked on hundreds of parks, said Siedlecki. The company is based in Arizona.

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