Cary News

Apex skate park gains final approval

This sketch shows the plan for Trackside, Apex’s skate park at Hunter Street Park. The design came after input from 25 skateboarders. The 13,000-square-foot plaza includes competition skateboarding elements and a performance pavilion.
This sketch shows the plan for Trackside, Apex’s skate park at Hunter Street Park. The design came after input from 25 skateboarders. The 13,000-square-foot plaza includes competition skateboarding elements and a performance pavilion. TOWN OF APEX

Plans to build a skate park downtown are nearly complete, with a groundbreaking expected next month and a potential opening this summer.

But the plan is $54,000 more than originally estimated, and backers have raised less money than they said they would.

The Apex Town Council approved the design nearly a year ago for Trackside Skate Plaza at Hunter Street Park. They approved a plan that had the park costing $635,000 with local businesses and residents expected to raise between $140,000 and $170,000.

At a council meeting this month, designer Chris Hilt of CLH Design told the council the lowest bid for the project was $689,000.

She also promised to continue raising money, as the project only has $30,000 in donations so far.

“We’ve got a lot of commitments,” she said. “They’re just coming fairly slowly.”

She said another $10,000 in cash has been promised, along with as much as $100,000 worth of materials and other in-kind donations.

Hilt asked the town to fund the entire $689,000 cost, but that she would use donations to repay the town.

The council was on board with that plan, unanimously approving the contract for only $689,000.

“Do you feel comfortable you won’t have to come back to us again for additional money?” Mayor Pro Tem Gene Schulze asked before voting.

“I feel like you would shoot me if I did,” Hilt responded, eliciting laughter from the board.

She said she is hoping for more fundraising success as construction comes along and more people begin to notice the park.

However, residents who took a town survey that ranked “teen activities” as the top parks priority for the town have yet to follow through with financial contributions.

“Are you getting a lot of help from the skateboard parents we hoped would pitch in?” council member Denise Wilkie asked, causing Hilt to hesitate.

“Boy, you’re putting me on the spot,” Hilt said. “One.”

Despite that lack of buy-in so far, the skate park has the backing of another group that was even more influential in lobbying for it: the Apex Chamber of Commerce.

Skateboarders often use the chamber office’s front steps as a makeshift skate park. Local business owners – and police officers – have complained about teens and other youth skating among the crowds downtown.

The chamber donated $80,000 toward the park, in exchange for naming rights to the bandstand that will sit beside the 8-foot deep competition skating bowl.

The park also will include stairs, rails, ramps and other elements in a design that’s based off 2013 drawings from a group of 25 local skateboarders.

It’s a place “where the kids could learn, teach and just hang in their own space,” the Town of Apex states on its skate park website. The bandstand and pavilion area is described as a great space for concerts or “as a spot to just chill.”

Depending on how much donors give, they can obtain naming rights for the competition bowl and other elements within the park. Everyone who gives at least $100 also will receive an “I adopted a skateboarder!” T-shirt.

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