On Feb. 14, passionate members of Student Quest for Underground Athletic Development and the Black Bear Skate Park Association hosted their second meeting of the 2013 spring semester at the New Balance Student Recreation Center. Both organizations are working together to gain supportand construct a $120,000 skate park on campus at the University of Maine.
“What do [we] want in a skate park?” asked the vice president of SQUAD, AJ Olsen. “Right now, we’re just trying to get designs on the table.”
The main objective of this meeting was design. Many suggested their favorite features of other skate parks, and a few even brought in pictures for ideas. But design suggestions of quickly produced agreement in logistics, as one student showed small concrete features of a skate park in Connecticut.
“Basically, the park is composed of a lot of small features that you can hit in many different ways,” a member of SQUAD said. “I think it’s more progressive to have small features.”
Many members listed off skating features such as mini ramps, rails, ledges and bowls at the meeting. Skateboarding did not monopolize park design either. Bikes became a major part of the discussion, especially after dirt jump schematics were passed around. Even longboarding did not go unnoticed.
“Having a plan for [an] extended multiuse park is really key,” Olsen said.
When question was raised over who may be designing the skate park, Olsen offered a solution.
“Civil engineering students who are looking for capstone ideas could come in and use the ideas that we generate today and just plan it out.”
Among the attendees was faculty member of the mathematics department Paul Van Steenberghe.
“I have at least three engineering professors on board to give their students these choices for their capstone projects,” Steenberghe said.
Will Manion, Thomas C. Sandford and Scott Dunning are the three professors Steenberghe referred to. Dunning is the director of engineering technology.
Plans for an on-campus skate park changed after the Class of 2013 withdrew its involvement, due to lack of funds. The Class of 2013 originally intended to construct the skate park as their class gift.
Josh Kaffer, president of BBSA, inspired confidence that funding a skate park for the community is not going to be a problem.
“Right now, Old Town has almost $38,000 that was given through a community block grant back in 2006,” Kaffer said. “It was allocated towards a skate park, and they’ve [since] been sitting on it. Orono has close to $12,000 that was raised by individuals back in 1998 — mostly [by] high school kids — for a skate park.”
Kaffer felt very confident that a skate park would help the community prosper.
“It’s about bringing the community together,” he said. “We’re dealing with three separate communities in dire need of recreation.”
Kaffer and BBSA are still working with community leaders and say Old Town will agree to fund $38,000 if Orono agrees to match that same amount. Currently, BBSA is working to raise the additional $26,000 Orono needs to match Old Town.
On Saturday, Feb. 23, the BBSA will host a skate park benefit concert, featuring several local bands, at the Keith Anderson Community center in Orono. The concert is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.