Strasburg leaders eye third possible site for skate park

By Alex Bridges

A third potential site for a skate park in Strasburg may get the green light by town leaders.

Rather than put the Tribute to Trent Williams Skatepark behind Strasburg’s former water treatment plant off Queen Street, or on land by the riverwalk as proposed, officials are now giving heavy consideration to space in the town park.

Town Council came to a consensus during a work session Monday on the latest location to be proposed for the skate park. Council plans to consider at its November meeting a resolution to allow the use of the land at the town park, near the swimming pool and soccer fields, for the skatepark.

Trent Williams, of Strasburg, died of cancer on July 29, 2012 at age 8. Police Chief Tim Sutherly and Trent’s mother, Jennifer Williams, started work on a skate park in the boy’s memory and presented their proposal to council almost a year ago. Organizers have raised about $3,000 for the skate park, though they expect to receive in-kind assistance to cover supplies and other costs.

Earlier this month, council members, town officials and others involved in the project visited the sites at the riverwalk and the water plant and heard of the pros and cons for either location.

Fred K. “Kenny” Price, vice president of Land Surveying and Civil Engineering, is working with the organizers of the skate park project to design the recreational facility. Price noted Thursday that the site by the riverwalk lies in a flood plain. But the site behind the plant also presented challenges.

“It was kind of out of the public eye, we were a little concerned about safety,” Price said. “It would be very hard for police to do an active patrol in that area.”

Councilman Donald Le Vine’s property abuts the water plant. But the proximity of his home to the once-considered site behind the plant likely had little to do with the majority of council steering away from that location.

“So I’m in the delicate position of trying to separate my personal feelings, which I have as a citizen, from my views as a councilman,” Le Vine said Thursday. “It’s not always an easy balance to do.”

Le Vine recalled that at the work session Sutherly presented three potential sites for the skate park. The site in the town park came up only recently. Le Vine pointed out that Sutherly expressed concern over policing and monitoring the site by the riverwalk. At the water plant site, Le Vine noted, the building would obscure a park from view of the nearby street.

Le Vine also pointed out that skate park users at the water plant would start riding at High Street and travel down the hill on Queen Street. Le Vine said this might pose a danger to riders.

The town park site would have no such obstructions and police already patrol the entire area, Le Vine said. The site also sits on a natural slope and the vacant land would allow for possible expansion in the future, he noted. The engineer has said he could design the skate park to alleviate any impact from flooding, Le Vine said.

“[Designers’] arguments included that this is a family oriented place,” Le Vine recalled. “Now a family could bring a kid at different ages and they could skate, they could play soccer or they could swim when they get too hot, the little kids can go to the kid’s park so it keeps the family intact.”

Organizers also are inviting the public to help design the skate park. Price said he plans to post on the Facebook group “What’s Happening Strasburg?” a request for people in the community to submit drawings of what they would want to see in the skate park. Price credited a local child with coming up with the idea for the submissions. Input from the ideas submitted through Facebook will be collected and used to create a design for the skate park, Price said.

Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or abridges@nvdaily.com