Olaf Boisvert uses a ramp at the Kennebunk skate park on Factory Pasture Lane while Addie Calil looks on. An upgrade and expansion is planned for the park. Tammy Wells photo

KENNEBUNK – The skateboard park on Factory Pasture Lane is going to get an overhaul and expansion.

The plan for the first phase includes features like a quarter pipe, a stair set, rails and a funbox.

The park is a popular spot for young residents and for others, who come from nearby towns. They skateboard, roller skate, or ride scooters and BMX bikes up and down and around the ramps and other features.

But the park has had a lot of use over the years and there has been a desire for an upgrade.

Meetings with users resulted in a plan, with a view for the first phase to be completed this year. The town put out a request for proposals to get the work done, and a contractor is expected to be selected soon.

“One amazing aspect of engaging the skaters, bikers and scooter users who regularly use the park was that they helped us and helped the park designer see their vision,” said Kennebunk Parks and Recreation Director Tasha Pinkham.

Users met online with Brad Siedlecki of Pillar Design Solutions.

The skate park on Factory Pasture Lane is poised for an expansion and upgrade. Tammy Wells photo

“After some good conversation discussing various park features and options, one of the users suggested that the current asphalt portion of the park be retained, and that the new, concrete portion of the park be built adjacent to that,” said Siedlecki. Other users chimed in with more ideas, and support of the hybrid concept, he said.

“It’s unusual to have a mix of these materials in a park, but users didn’t want to feel like they were losing the “original” park and only getting a small concrete pad in its place,” said Siedlecki.

Skateboard enthusiasts at the park on a recent day during April school vacation said they’re happy about the expansion and some new features.

“I’m really excited,” said Will Watkinson. “It’s long overdue.”

Among those roller skating at the skate park was Mark Ahern, who brought daughter Emily and sons Kyle and Sean along, too. The family lives in Wells and, Ahern said, skates regularly at the Kennebunk park.

Stacey Tufts watched her daughters, Belle and Addie Calil as they zoomed up and down the ramps and made some jumps.

“We come here frequently, once or twice a week,” said Tufts.

Site work, which will be conducted by the town’s Public Services Department, is scheduled to begin the first week of May, weather permitting. Community Development Director Chris Osterrieder said the park will close for a week to prep the soils for the future concrete pad.

The budget is tight, said Osterrieder, and having the site prep done in house will save about $30,000. Originally the town allocated $100,000 for improvements to the skate park. Over the years, some money has been spent on design and site survey work, leaving a balance of $85,478, said Osterrieder. He said the money will be used to complete the first phase of the improvements, with the thought that fundraising will take place for additional future phases.

Osterrieder said the town has been looking for other funding and received a $7,500 grant through the Maine Community Foundation in 2020. They’ve also been invited to apply for support from the Tony Hawk Foundation.

“This is all very timely because not only can we do the site clearing and organization as a part of this improvement project, but at the same time this spring Factory Pasture Lane will undergo a road project which includes the addition of a sidewalk,” Osterrieder said. “That will immediately add to the revitalization of this area, encouraging walkability and inviting more visibility and usage of the park as a result.”

There’s long history of the park on Factory Pasture Lane, with some skaters telling town hall staff that their parents helped build, rebuild and customize the park over the years.

Osterrieder said even when the select board had to look at difficult financial decisions during the pandemic, it never felt like the skateboard upgrade, which has been planned for many years, was in jeopardy. “I attribute that to all of the hard work those before and currently have put into this,” he said.

The Factory Pasture Lane site is tired, at present, but Deputy Community Development Director Karen Winton said the users have ideas involving cleaning up the site, some clearing, creating formal parking, and suggestions for landscaping.

“They want it to look like and have the quality of any other park in town,” Winton said.

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