The city of Bangor said Monday that it will finally break ground on a new, modern skate park in late May, nine years after the current park was moved from Bass Park to a concrete slab off Union Street that was not supposed to be a permanent location.
The new park, designed by Missouri-based American Ramp Company, will be located at Hayford Park, between Mansfield Stadium and 13th Street. It will be constructed out of concrete, and will have built-in features including ramps, grind rails, a quarter pipe and other elevations. It’s a marked improvement over the handmade wooden ramps that have been in use for more than 20 years at both the Union Street and Bass Park sites, and which have fallen into disrepair in recent years.
The city began examining potential locations for a new park in the fall of 2016, and went through several potential sites, including Broadway Park and Williams Park on Newbury Street, before landing on Hayford Park.
Last summer, after some volunteers at Mansfield Stadium claimed that the prominent location of the new skate park would be a distraction to baseball players, it was quietly moved to a secluded location between the woods and the other side of the stadium. After an outcry from community members and several city councilors in September 2020, the site was moved back to its original spot.
While the original design for the new, 2,300-square-foot park will be the one that is constructed this summer, a group of Bangor residents have begun fundraising for an addition to the new park, to be built sometime in the future after the initial phase is complete.
Bangor resident Nat Putnam, whose son Jack is a regular user of the skate park, has formed a group with other parents, community members and skateboarders to raise $125,000 for the construction of an expansion. He said that while the new park is a welcome step forward for the skating community in the region, the current design is not big enough for a city like Bangor.
“[This is a park] roughly half the size of a basketball court,” Putnam said. “That simply isn’t large enough for a community like Bangor. In comparison, Portland, Lewiston and Augusta each have a skatepark several times larger than the one proposed for Bangor.”
The group received authorization last month from Bangor Parks and Recreation and the City Council to undertake fundraising on behalf of the city. Thus far, the group has received grants and donations totaling just shy of $40,000 from the Ollie Fund and the Jane and Frank Bragg Family Fund, via the Maine Community Foundation, as well as a donation from Cross Insurance and from individual donors. Additionally, the group was awarded a grant from The Skate Park Project, formerly known as the Tony Hawk Foundation, in the amount of $1,000, with the potential for a larger grant in the nonprofit’s next round of grantmaking.
The proposed addition that’s contingent on the fundraising would expand the current design from 2,300 square feet to 6,000 square feet. Bangor Parks and Recreation shared an early design for that addition on social media on Monday. Putnam said that if their fundraising efforts are successful this summer, that expansion could break ground as early as this fall.
The parks department is accepting donations for the expansion on its website.