Manassas Park children soon won’t have to ride their bikes or skateboard in the streets anymore. The city will now solicit bids to build a skate park after the council approved the project Tuesday night.
“It has been on our capital improvement plan for about four years now,” said Catherine Morretta, parks and recreation director. “This year it got moved through.”
The project was actually pushed ahead a few years because of the demand, Morretta said.
“The skaters don’t have anywhere to go; they skate on the street,” she said.
Children and teens skating and riding on the street pose a threat to the streets, as well as their own safety. When riders perform tricks, curbs are damaged.
Unofficially, the city has allowed a group of responsible skateboarders and bikers to use the pavilion area at Costello Park.
“They take care of it; they keep it clean and they make sure their behavior is correct,” Morretta said. “In exchange we allow them to skate there without being run off.”
The proposal calls for an official facility at the park with ramps, jumps and other features for riders and skaters. These sports are highly popular with area youth, and a more appropriate place to ride and skate is sorely needed according to Morretta. She expects an approximate deadline for bids to be Dec. 15, with construction to begin in the spring.
Once a low bidder has been selected, safety regulations will be created. Protective padding will likely be part of those requirements. All Manassas Park residents will be able to use the facility free of charge.
Although residents on the eastern end of the city will have to travel farther than their west-end peers, Deputy City Manager Mercury Payton said Costello Park is a favorable location.
“Most of the citizens are accustomed to going to Costello Park anyway,” Payton said. “It’s probably familiar to those citizens who would skateboard, and its an environment that they’re comfortable with.”
Manassas Park resident Andy Frostman said he used to skateboard, and he thinks the park is a really good idea.
“Kids don’t have enough sidewalks to ride skateboards on,” Frostman said. “It would be really nice if kids had a park instead having to skate around cars and moving vehicles. It also seems like a healthy thing for after school as an extra-curricular activity.”