Updated 03/15/2013 04:30 PM
Supporters Moving Ahead with Plans for a Rochester Skatepark
It's been five years in the making and proponents of a downtown Rochester skatepark are hopeful in another two years the park will be a reality. They're meeting with interested groups and coming up with some design ideas.
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For the last five years, Jim Maddison and his group Friends of the Roc City Skatepark
have been meeting with city officials, downtown development leaders, and neighbors to get a skatepark built in downtown Rochester.
The park would be a place where skaters could skate legally. But the 75,000 square foot proposed space that runs along the Genesee River under the The Frederick Douglass–Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge, would also be a place where pedestrians could walk and sit, where cyclists could trail through and where the skateboarders themselves would ride on skateable art.
Maddison brought on board those who aren't just national experts in designing skateparks but are skateboarders themselves. Kanten Russell was a professional skateboarder for 13 years. Russell, Maddison, and others on the design team showed their plans for the park to members of the Rochester Downtown Development Corporation and area neighbors Friday morning.
"This is an important endeavor in a bunch of different ways – for childhood obesity issues, economic development issues," said Maddison. "With the largest skatepark in North America, it'll have a tremendous impact on downtown foot traffic, which is critical to retail business. We think it'll have a some job creation through the multiplier effect of people downtown spending money."
"If we get it to the size we were hoping for, it'll be more than a regional draw. It will be a national draw and a place where competitions could be held," said Jim Farr, City of Rochester Bureau of Recreation. "A lot folks that are in the skating community travel to go around the country to visit different skate parks, so it'll help us fill hotel rooms downtown. "
When building parks around the country, designers say they run into some of the same concerns about noise or access. But Rochester's park doesn't have many nearby neighbors and even those who are close enough seem to be on board.
"Your first reaction is what is this going to look like, how is this going to work? But certainly hearing more about it and learning more about it, I think I speak for all of our folks... we're very excited," said Michael Burns, Capron St. Condominium Board President.
The City of Rochester gave the group some money for a feasibility study Maddison hopes will be completed this summer. He said the City has also put the $2 million needed to build the park in its 2015 Capital Improvement Budget, but organizers hope to raise money to help offset that cost.
Friend of the Roc City Skatepark hope to be cutting the ribbon on the new park in August of 2015.