Skatepark Bid Taken Under Advisement

Information reprinted with permission of the Courier Times, local newspaper New Castle, Indiana

Skatepark bid taken under advisement

Posted: Tuesday, December 6, 2016 6:00 am

The City of New Castle is one step closer to having a new skatepark.

The New Castle Board of Works met Monday and opened the lone bid received for the proposed facility. 

City parks board president Patty Broyles said the matter was advertised as required and interest was expressed by firms from California, Oregon, Missouri and Indiana, but the only company that actually submitted a bid was Hunger of Bloomington, Indiana, which also did the preliminary design work for the nearly 11,000 square foot facility planned for a vacant area just north of the Aquatics Center at Baker Park on the city’s south side.

Hunger’s price of just over $294,000 is higher than the $275,000 the city was pledged in food and beverage tax monies. With that in mind, Broyles said it’s time for the community to come together and do what it takes to bring this project to fruition.

“With the community’s support I believe we can come together and get this done,” Broyles said. 

The parks board president noted some donations have already been received and placed in a special pass-through account established by the parks board at the Henry County Community Foundation. She also pointed out that at least one local business, Frost Framing, has pledged a $5 donation for every “like” his business page receives on Facebook up to $1,000.

“I’d love to see other businesses step forward and do something like that,” Broyles said. “If we had just 10 businesses do something like that we’d have $10,000, and if we had 100 businesses that would be $100,000! We’re also selling the wire baskets from the old pool at Baker Park and hopefully some additional grants will come through. We’re working on it.”

Bart Smith from Hunger said he and his coworkers are excited about getting started on the New Castle skatepark, which is being built in large part as the result of responses to a survey the parks board circulated prior to drafting a 5-year master plan for the city’s parks system.

“We’re really looking forward to working with the community and building a new skatepark,” Smith said. “It should take approximately four months for construction and we would like to get started in early spring.”

Christy Wiesenhahn, also of Hunger, said this effort will be something the entire community can embrace.

“We hope this skatepark will be not just a skatepark for skaters, but that non-skaters will be very proud of the project and that it becomes more of a community build and builds community in the process,” she said. “We hope that it becomes a symbol that shows the New Castle Parks Board cares about the people of New Castle and that it adds to the quality of life for residents of New Castle and Henry County in general.”

Broyles said she is excited to get started and to be working with Hunger, which has designed several skateparks in recent years including a facility in Peru, Indiana, another in Winamac, and the company recently completed a major renovation and update to a skating facility in Indianapolis.

“We also finished a recent large build in Little Rock, Arkansas, that was kind of a similar situation to what we have here in New Castle,” Wiesenhahn said. “Coca-Cola awarded a $150,000 grant based on their volunteerism, which had to do a lot with the skateboarders in that community volunteering time. We’re hoping we can pull from our experience there and really pull in volunteers and get in-kind donations from the business community here to make the skatepark much cheaper to build than where our bid came in.”

Broyles said she anticipates the local skatepark’s final cost to come in substantially lower than Hunger’s bid price as Mayor Greg York has already pledged the use of city-owned equipment, the welding program at the New Castle Career Center has expressed an interest in helping with rebar and other aspects of the build, and it is hoped an area contractor will step forward and offer a discounted price on concrete.

Wiesenhahn added that a good deal of fill dirt will also be needed as part of the preliminary construction process as the skatepark will be elevated to provide for better drainage and several of the planned features within the facility involve elevated areas.

Anyone interested in making a monetary donation is encouraged to do so via the pass-through account at the community foundation. Any contractors interested in donating materials or labor are encouraged to contact New Castle Director of Public Works Dave Barker at 765-529-7605.

No action was taken on Hunger’s bid. The matter was taken under advisement to allow parks board members time to review the paperwork involved. A decision is expected when the board next meets.

The parks board usually meets at 5:30 p.m. the first Monday of each month in council chambers on the second floor of the city municipal building at 227 N. Main St.