Skaters hit the half-pipe at the Bangor Skateboard Park in 2013. The city is looking for a location for a new skate park. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

Bangor city officials will look for a new location for the new skate park to be built within Hayford Park, after several community members and city councilors expressed concerns about the current location choice for the new park.

A location and design for the new park, which was to be located in a narrow strip of land in Hayford Park between the right field of Mansfield Stadium and a wooded area, was approved by the city’s planning board last week. That location was chosen after two other spots within the park were selected and then ultimately rejected by the department — one in the grassy area between 13th Street, the basketball court and the tennis court, and a second, in front of the center field line of Mansfield Stadium.

Tracy Willette, Bangor’s director of parks and recreation, said the move to the right field side was done because volunteers at Mansfield Stadium said the skate park would be a distraction to baseball players.

But at a discussion about the new skate park at the government operations committee meeting on Monday evening, councilor Gretchen Schaefer said she thought both the location and design were lacking. Namely, Schaefer said, her concern was that the new park would be constructed in a dimly lit area hidden away from the rest of the park.

“Putting the skate park at Hayford Park is only a benefit, and it adds to the crown jewel of our park system. It’s not something that should be hidden away,” Schaefer said. “It should be celebrated, and not tucked into a dark corner.”

Schaefer also said that the decision to move the park from its previous two proposed locations within Hayford Park was done without consulting the city’s parks and recreation committee, or members of the Bangor area’s skating community.

Nick Turner, a member of the Black Bear Skate Park Association, a Bangor-based organization that has done fundraising for the new skate park, said that the design for the park presently lacks important elements, including verticality, which would allow for the construction of quarter or half pipes. The current design is composed mostly of bumps and rails, which are skating elements used by more advanced skaters in order to grind, in which a skater slides their skateboard along a surface.

“It’s pretty useless for learners. The design that is shown right now doesn’t have many options for skaters to learn,” said Turner, who said he has been skating for 20 years.

The parks and recreation department has been working on building a new skate park for nearly three years. The current skate park is located in an empty lot off Maine Avenue, utilizing old, outdated wooden ramps and other equipment that was moved from the original skate park at Bass Park in 2012. After weighing a number of options for locations around the city, in March 2020, the city council approved a plan to build a new skate park in Hayford Park, designated $125,000 to build it, and contracted with Missouri-based American Ramp Company to design it.

At the meeting on Monday, Willette said that he would work on a new location and design within Hayford Park.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.