BANGOR, Maine — When a group of young people came to the city about a decade ago to explore the possibility of creating a skate park, city leaders were skeptical at first but eventually became receptive and encouraging.
Now that plans for a new arena complex at Bass Park might force the skate park to relocate, the Parks and Recreation Department wants to make sure nothing is lost in the shuffle.
Earlier this week, Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Willette briefed members of the department’s advisory committee on options for moving the park. The next step is a meeting scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 20, to explore additional ideas and to hear from members of the public.
“We’ve already had some people come in and speak to us,” Willette said. “Everyone wants to make sure the city keeps the place going, and that’s what we want to do.”
Bangor’s skate park, located in Bass Park in front of the existing Bangor Auditorium, was created in 2001. A group of youths spent two years raising $37,000 and convincing the public that it would be a positive asset for the community.
Willette said there is no doubt the skate park has had a meaningful impact.
“It’s allowed us to reach a segment of youth that we hadn’t been able to reach,” he said. “In the last decade, we’ve had very few issues there.”
The success of Bangor’s skate park has even spurred other area communities to create their own parks.
Bangor’s 100-foot-by-60-foot public venue features two “spines,” or pointed, double-sided ramps for performing lower aerial tricks; five “funboxes,” or elevated flat areas with edges for sliding; and two “tabletops,” which are lower flat areas for jumping over.
In addition to the possibility of relocating the park, Willette said some of the equipment is in need of replacement, a topic that could come up at the Jan. 20 meeting.
“That could create another challenge but also an opportunity to revitalize what we have already,” he said.