By Amye Anderson
UCBJ Managing Editor
COOKEVILLE – The preliminary design for the proposed local skatepark has been unveiled to an overall positive response.
Local skateboard enthusiasts and members of the city’s leisure services department were on hand Tuesday night as Micah Shapiro, lead designer with Grindline Skateparks, the company contracted to complete the park’s design, revealed a conceptual design of the proposed skatepark; featuring a variety of bowls, ramps and other street course obstacles.
“Everybody that attended last night was like, ‘No, really, there’s no suggestions that we’ve got. You did great,’” Andy Hill, local skateboard enthusiast, told the UCBJ.
“Pretty much, the feedback was, ‘This is awesome,’” echoed Rick Woods, director of Cookeville Leisure Services and Public Facilities.
Grindline, a design and construction firm hailing from Seattle, Wa., is skater-owned and operated with a portfolio that includes the largest skatepark in North America. This project would make the firm’s first in Tennessee.
In previous meetings and discussions, the Grindline team was able to collect ideas from local skaters; learning what was needed, what locals hoped to see in the new park, and making the most use of the land area while keeping the city’s budget in mind.
“There’s a lot of great skate park companies out there, you know,” Hill said. “But, the one thing that’s good about these guys or they’re known for, is trying to get on the ground, look at this location, and build something unique so it’s not like it’s a cookie-cutter park that’s in every city.”
And, according to Hill, that’s what skaters want.
“That’s why people travel to skate different parks,” he said. “They want to ride something new.”
Major cities across Tennessee – Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis – are all home to multiple skateparks; each attracting skateboarders and BMX riders to their facilities. The proposed Cookeville skatepark would be the first of its kind in the region and is expected to draw skate and BMX enthusiasts from all over the Upper Cumberland to the heart of Cookeville.
Hill says he’s been involved since the beginning of the project, when talks first began about what to do at the site of the defunct Park View pool property and helped provide input for the local park’s design.
“He (Shapiro) did a great job using the budget and getting as much skateable surfaces and obstacles,” Hill said.
The project’s budget, made up of grant monies administered through the state’s Department of Environment and Conservation Recreation Educational Services, as well as matching funds, stands at $800,000.
It’s money Hill says will make great use of a defunct property while recognizing a long-overdue need locally.
“It’s going to bring people into Cookeville to ride the park just because they know that Grindline did it and it’s going to be fun,” Hill said. “In between the two major cities (Nashville and Knoxville), it’s going to also be a good draw for all of the surrounding counties.”
“It’s going to pull people into town,” he added. “It will definitely be utilized, I would say, probably more than any other park or anything is in town. I bet there’s somebody there when it’s 10 degrees outside.”
Obstacles incorporated in the design will provide challenges for a variety of skill levels ranging from beginner and beyond.
In the fall, the city of Cookeville inked a contract with Nashville-based Hart Freeland Roberts Design for that firm to provide plans for the renovation of the pool house at the old Park View Park and pool.
Woods says following the final design particulars – with the final design expected to be available sometime next month – and if the project doesn’t experience any construction delays, the park could be completed by mid-summer 2018.