Council OKs skate park site

A skate park planned in Strasburg now has a future home.

Town Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve the location of the Tribute to Trent Williams Skate Park as the area between the swimming pool and the soccer fields in the Town Park.

Town Manager Judson Rex referred back to council’s Oct. 20 work session at which members discussed three options — space behind the former water treatment facility off Queen Street, on land next to the new plant by the walking trail and the spot at the Town Park. The latter choice “seemed to surface as the preferred location,” Rex said.

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.

Sutherly spoke to council about the ongoing effort to build the park.

“We did our due diligence on several locations around town and we ultimately decided the park — due to having amenities already present and it’s already heavily patrolled and supervised by the pool manager in the summer time — would be the best location,” Sutherly said.

Councilman John “Red” Hall Jr. expressed support for the project.

“I think this will be a good park for the children if it keeps them off the streets and keeps the skateboards in a safe area,” Hall said. “It will have something else for the children to do.”

“That’s the goal,” Sutherly said. “It’s never going to be 100 percent. You’ll still see some occasionally [in the streets], but we’re hoping they’ll be able to go from point A to point B and stay there for most of the day instead of continuously riding on the street.”

In response to a question from Councilman Scott Terndrup, Sutherly said he contacted the organization that uses the soccer field at the Town Park and received support for the project. The engineer working on the project has said the skate park might help reduce flooding in the soccer field.

Fred K. “Kenny” Price, vice president of LS2PC Land Surveying and Civil Engineering, and Scott Herlihy are working with the organizers of the project to design the skate park. Herlihy has been involved in designing other skate parks, including one in Leesburg.

Sutherly showed council a blank template the designers are making available to the community on which people can draw their ideas for the skate park.

Rex explained to council that the town’s insurance through the Virginia Municipal League would cover the additional liability of the skate park.

Town Council already adopted a resolution of support for the park that organizers say should help attract more donations and in larger amounts for the project.

The next phase is to complete the design of the park. Sutherly said after the meeting that he and the other people working on the project are hoping to break ground on the site and open the skate park next summer. In addition to fundraisers supporters will be holding for the project, Sutherly said he plans to apply for grants that could help cover the cost to build the park.

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