Why a skatepark?
According to the 2010 US census, skateboarding has over 8 million participants, outranking hockey, skiing, and in kids aged 6-17, even little league baseball. Despite these massive numbers, there is no sanctioned place to skate in Houghton or neighboring Hancock, leaving local skaters with few if any options. In its 2014 update to its Master Plan, the City of Houghton identified a skate park as a targeted project to be constructed by 2018. The skatepark also is recognized in the City’s Recreation Plan. We'd like to join thousands of US communities in providing a safe and satisfying spot for local skaters and bikers to practice this healthy and communal activity.
How big is the skatepark and how much will it cost?
We plan to build a phase-centric park, with the first phase covering approximately 3200 square feet and costing $125,000. Second--and potentially third--phase additions will be smaller and cost less.
Where will the skatepark be located?
The City has committed to donate parcel of East Houghton Waterfront Park, near the Super 8 Motel. It's a popular gathering space conveniently located along the water in downtown Houghton, and features a pavilion with bathrooms, drinking fountains, and vending machines. The city also intends to alter the area for better parking access, and to build a playground for more family usage.
Why not an indoor skatepark, given our area's long, harsh winters?
An indoor space adds A LOT of extra maintenance, cost, and management difficulties. Volunteers from Houghton's now-defunct indoor Level 2 Skatepark at the Dee Stadium will share countless stories of problems in staffing daily workers, paying rent during sunny summer months, sharing space with a busy hockey arena, and on and on and on. With a free, poured-in-place concrete park, participants are welcome to come in and out of the park as they please within posted hours, as they would a basketball or tennis court, with little maintenance and daily upkeep issues. Successful indoor spaces are typically pay-to-use businesses, membership based cooperatives, or privately owned ramps. While we encourage entrepreneurs to consider opening such a space in the area, our project is a free, public space for use by anybody with a skateboard or bike.
Why concrete, and not wood, metal, or other modular features?
Such modular features, including preformed concrete, are temporary or low-grade structures that don't hold up to weathering, and more importantly, are awful to ride on. Such parks are usually built due to low prices and aggressive snake oil sales tactics, and because they are generally unsatisfactory and hazardous, are left unused and deteriorating. We won't work with such materials or the contractors who push them any sooner than the White House should contract White Castle to cater a state dinner.
Will you allow bikes, rollerblades, scooters, etc?
Yes! Any person is free to use the skatepark as long as they are respectful of the space, its users, and its neighbors. Wherever its final location, the park will remain City of Houghton property and thus will be subject to all of its laws, ordinances and conditions.
Contact us if you have any more questions!