Maybe it will work best in the parking lot behind Barrington Town Hall. Or maybe it would have been better tucked away in a quiet corner of Haines Park. Or maybe, as one resident suggested, Chianese …
Maybe it will work best in the parking lot behind Barrington Town Hall. Or maybe it would have been better tucked away in a quiet corner of Haines Park. Or maybe, as one resident suggested, Chianese Park would be the best location for the construction of a new skatepark.
It is hard to say who is right, at least for now.
The good news is that officials have given the green light to the Barrington Park and Recreation Commission to submit an application for a $280,000 Department of Environmental Management grant.
There is a chance — a good chance, according to Barrington Town Manager Phil Hervey — that the state will not award the grant to Barrington, but it is definitely worth a try. (Hervey said the town has already decided to submit a separate DEM grant application to expand its splash pad on Route 114, and that state officials are not likely to award two recreation grants to a single community.)
The construction of a new skatepark has long been a topic of discussion for the Park and Recreation Commission. That group has entertained plenty of meetings with residents who say the town’s only existing skatepark — a few pieces of equipment set onto the cracked asphalt at Legion Way — falls short in a number of areas. The Commission invited Barrington resident Tom Claussen to speak to the Town Council during the Nov. 6 meeting. Claussen detailed how his son was injured while using Legion Way skatepark. He said there are gaps or seems between the ramps and the asphalt which become dangerous obstacles for kids riding skateboards on the equipment. Claussen said he son lost most of the skin on his elbow during one crash at the Legion Way park.
Other problems include the remote location of the Legion Way park, its lack of shade, and the minimal amount of ramps there.
There was some concern that the spot behind the Town Hall, near Kids Kove Playground, might create some other issues. In fact, Hervey wanted to push pause on the skatepark grant application to take a deeper dive into potential locations — that move would have guaranteed that skatepark enthusiasts would have had to wait another year for a shot at a DEM grant.
Eventually, Council members decided the Commission had done ample research and it was worthwhile to submit the grant application now. Kudos to the Councilors for supporting the effort and the work of their Park and Recreation Commission.
In the end, the debate over the location will be just one factor considered by the state when it decides whether Barrington gets a new skatepark.