Skate Park Site Headed for Vote on Thursday

Skate Park Site Headed for Vote on Thursday

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City Council will consider a resolution Thursday (April 10) to tentatively designate city property on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue as the preferred site for a new skateboard park in Ocean City.

The action is necessary as part of a grant application with an April 15 deadline.

But city officials spent a good portion of a constituent meeting on Saturday morning assuring neighbors that plans for the park are not final.

“To say this location is a done deal is premature,” Councilman Keith Hartzell said. “I’m going to weigh this out as best I can.”

A Green Acres Cape May County Recreation Grant could pay for a substantial portion of what is envisioned as a $750,000 park, and the application requires a designated site. But officials said the site potentially could be changed later (with the approval of the Green Acres program), if the application is successful.

Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo points to a rough site plan for a proposed skateboard park adjacent to the Ocean City Fire Department on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue.

The discussion was part of a citizen meeting called by Second Ward Councilman Antwan McClellan. He, Hartzell and Ocean City Business Administrator Mike Dattilo led the public forum April 5 at the Eighth Street Recreation Center.

About 25 people attended — most were property owners interested in learning more about plans for the park.

As at a Thursday council workshop and town hall meeting on the topic, nobody objected to the idea of bringing a skate park to Ocean City. But a two-hour discussion raised issues about potential impact on the neighboring Ocean City Primary School (during school hours), effect on the nearby Ocean City Historic District, parking, safety and effect on the charitable Ecumenical Council Clothes Closet (which would be displaced and moved to the opposite side of the Ocean City Fire Department).

“I feel bad about the pace at which this developed,” Dattilo said to Clothes Closet representative Kris Stanwood.

Stanwood said she had not heard of the proposal until news reports came out in advance of Thursday’s meetings. She expressed concerns about parking at the new proposed site — not only for customers but for volunteers and donors.

Dattilo said in a “best-case scenario” the city could break ground on skate park late this year with an opening in 2015.

But City Council has not yet voted officially to allocate any money (the administration included $250,000 in a capital plan for the year). There would be several other checkpoints at the council level if the project were to come to fruition.

Read more about the proposal:

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