Strasburg leaders see sites for skate park consideration

By Alex Bridges

Support for a skate park in Strasburg keeps growing and now two locations are under consideration for the site.

Town Council’s Public Safety and Recreation Committee met to hear more information about the proposed Tribute to Trent Skatepark. Strasburg police Tim Sutherly told members that two potential sites have been identified as suitable for a skate park — space behind the former water treatment plant off Queen Street and vacant land along the riverwalk by the high school.

Trent Williams, of Strasburg, died of cancer on July 29, 2012 at age 8. 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.

“The hope is by doing this we could mainstream what they do,” Sutherly said. “It’s just the sport that they enjoy and right now, the attitude that we have toward them, we’re criminalizing them and it puts them in the wrong frame of mind about authority and the town.”

Scott Herlihy, who had a hand in designing a skate park in Leesburg. designed two versions of the skate park to fit on either site. Fred K. “Kenny” Price, a civil engineer, provided early plans for either site. Both men donated their time and resources to the project.

Herlihy designed the Strasburg skate park to more closely resemble the Leesburg facility. He said the Strasburg design improves upon what Warren County offers with its skate park in Front Royal. Strasburg’s park — called a skate spot for its size — would be roughly a third of the space of Front Royal’s 15,000-square-foot facility. Smaller parks are called skate dots.

Herlihy and Price took input from local skateboarders. The park would even include elements such as concrete steps and railings.

“All different experience levels went into this design,” Herlihy said. “Again, the design is based on what the kids want and also what we’re taking them off of here in town.”

Both sites are in a floodplain. But while the water plant site requires some elevation of the park, the entire facility would need to be raised if built on the riverwalk site. Herlihy said he estimated the cost to build on the water plant site at $150,000 and $200,000 at the riverwalk.

Once built, the town would be responsible for park maintenance. Using all concrete instead of a combination with wooden decking would reduce the maintenance cost, Herlihy said.

Committee members and other project supporters also visited each potential site. The water plant area drew more vocal support than the riverwalk site.

At the water plant site, Herlihy said a skate park would fit behind the existing building and tanks. Herlihy added that the town could convert part of the old building into a retail shop for skateboarding equipment and merchandise.

Council members recently voiced support for a resolution that would act as their endorsement of the project. Council plans to take action on the resolution at its Oct. 14 meeting. Project supporters sought the town’s endorsement as a way to entice potential donors to give to the skate park effort.

Organizers say that more donors may step up to help the project once the town selects a site and they have plans in place.

The skate park organizers plan to have a booth set up at Strasburg’s Oktoberfest event on Saturday.

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