The Waynesville town board is expected to approve a $341,658 contract this week with WNC Paving of Waynesville to build an 8,000-square-foot skate park on Vance Street. It should be completed by July.
“It’s exciting,” said Assistant Town Manager Alison Melnikova.
For more than a dozen years, Waynesville has been lobbied to build a skate park — a safe place for skaters to practice tricks and an outlet for teens in need of a pastime. One of the biggest champions was Waynesville Alderman Gary Caldwell, who kept the idea on the front burner until fellow town leaders agreed it was time to find the money and get it done.
A consultant designed the skate park with input from members of the local skating community. The park will feature at least four ramps, rails and various obstacles that recreate an urban skateboard setting.
“It gives them the feeling of skating downtown,” Melnikova said.
There also will be bleachers for spectators.
The town raised $98,000 toward the project from outside sources, including a $60,000 grant from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, $20,000 from the Waynesville Kiwanis Club, grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation and the North Carolina Community Foundation and a few thousand dollars in private donations.
The town is covering the rest of the cost, about $240,000. A big dent in the price tag — $98,000 to be exact — came from business license fees the town charged video sweepstake operations until the machines were outlawed.
Once completed, Melnikova expects that skateboarders from around the region will visit Waynesville to test out the new skate park. Those who can travel already make the 45-minute trip to Cherokee’s recently constructed skate park, she said.
“We expect people from those communities to come here, too,” Melnikova said.
The skate park will bring yet another new feature to the sprawling town recreation complex along Richland Creek. It already has tennis courts, a dog park, a Frisbee golf course, a greenway trail, a playground, fishing docks, a walking track and sports fields.
The town recreation department has its plate full with other improvement plans as well. The tennis courts at the recreation park need resurfacing, and the town has applied for grants to help cover the cost.
Meanwhile, Waynesville leaders are finalizing design plans for a new restroom pavilion near the children’s playground. The restrooms were vandalized many times and set on fire, leading to their closure.
The new building will include bathrooms, new plumbing, a pitched roof, an extended picnic shelter with places to barbecue, a concession stand, a food prep area with a microwave and a meeting room.