By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor

COOKEVILLE – With the design contract now signed, Cookeville’s proposed skatepark is one step closer to becoming a reality.

The first park of its kind in the city and the region, the skatepark – which doesn’t have official name just yet – is expected to draw skate and BMX enthusiasts from all over the Upper Cumberland to the heart of Cookeville.

“It’s going to be the only skatepark of its type in the Upper Cumberland area,” said Rick Woods, Director of Cookeville’s Leisure Services and Public Facilities.

Major cities across Tennessee dominate the field when it comes to skatepark offerings. Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis are all home to multiple skateparks; each attracting skateboarders and BMX riders to their facilities.

Now, with a similar facility coming to the heart of the Upper Cumberland, Woods is hopeful Cookeville can benefit from the new attraction.

“I think it has the potential to attract people from outside this community to come here to skate and also to have dinner and to support our tax base a little bit,” he said.

Last month, the City of Cookeville inked a contract with Nashville-based Hart Freeland Roberts Design for the firm to provide plans for the renovation of the old pool house at the old Parkview Park and pool.

There are still plenty more contracts to be signed and steps to be taken before the first skaters roll into the park.

According to Woods, HFR Design will perform the primary design for the renovation of the old pool building and will subcontract out the design work to skate park specialists for the features, elements and layout of the skating area itself.

Woods added that the project is at least another month away from announcing the firm – which has not yet been chosen – selected to handle the design of the skate area portion of the park.

“That will be done with input from the local skate community,” Woods said.

Using grant monies administered through the Department of Environment and Conservation Recreation Educational Services, as well as matching funds, the group has $800,000 to fund the project.

A skate park, Woods said, has been in talks for “a number of years” and was even included in the Land Use Master Plan for Parkview Park and Cane Creek Park approximately two years ago.

Nearby Parkview Park hosts four nearby baseball fields, a playground and a picnic shelter and is located at 545 Scott Ave., across from Parkview Elementary School.

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