After nearly 10 long years of fundraising, planning and setbacks, work was finally completed this week on a new, permanent skate park at Hayford Park in Bangor.
The park — an expansive concrete rectangle with built-in features including ramps, grind rails, a quarter pipe and other elevations — is located between Mansfield Stadium and 13th Street, and is a massive improvement over the old skate park off Union Street — which was meant to be temporary when it was installed in 2011.
The end result is an upgraded skate park that will likely become an attraction for skaters throughout the Bangor area.
“The skate park has been in need of upgrades for a generation,” said Bangor City Councilor Gretchen Schaefer, who has long been a proponent of the park. “Being able to have it housed in our central recreation complex alongside the stadium, pool and ice arena gives skaters the facility and location they deserve.”
Bangor’s Parks and Recreation Department tossed around locations for a new skate park for years. Locations like Broadway Park and Williams Park were previously considered before the city landed on Hayford Park in 2019. The original design for the park was about 2,300 square feet, and would have cost about $125,000, paid for with money raised by local skaters over the years and from city funds that had been set aside for at least four years.
Members of the Bangor-area skating community, however, said the original design was far too small for the number of people that would use it, and in April and May raised an additional $45,000 to triple the size of the park to just under 7,000 square feet. The city chipped in another $50,000 to complete construction, which began in early August and was completed on Wednesday. In total, the park cost about $220,000.
“It’s almost hard to believe that it’s done,” said Drew Lohman, a Bangor skateboarder who helped raise funds for the expansion. “On Wednesday, word spread incredibly fast that it was done, and suddenly there were 30 kids there, a lot of whom I’d never seen before. I don’t think I ever saw that many kids at the old park. And that was just day one.”
The new park has opened nearly a decade after the original park was moved from Bass Park to an unsheltered concrete slab off Union Street — with no bathroom or water access — and was not supposed to be a permanent location. The park’s handmade wooden ramps were in use for more than 20 years at both the Union Street and Bass Park sites, and had fallen into disrepair in recent years.
A grand opening event later in the fall will be planned, as soon as landscaping is completed around the perimeter of the park in the coming weeks.
Sam Putnam, a Bangor skater who grew up in the Fairmount neighborhood, learned how to skate at “the slab” on Union Street. At age 22, as he tried out the park for the first time on Thursday, he said he was happy that kids who are learning to skate today will have a proper place to do it.
“I wish I’d had this growing up,” Putnam said. “I went to Fairmount School, which is right around the corner, and if this had been here then I’d have been here all the time.”