Urbana’s skateboarders soon might have a place to call home if a new fundraising drive does the trick.
The Frederick County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 Thursday to allow for private fundraising to pay for a skate park to be built in the Urbana Community Park at 3636 Urbana Pike.
Commissioners’ President Blaine R. Young (R), commissioners Kirby Delauter (R) and C. Paul Smith (R) voted in favor of allowing the fundraising. Commissioners David Gray (R) and Billy Shreve (R) were not present.
Paul Dial, division director for the county Department of Parks and Recreation, said the program would use no county funding, but allow for the Community Foundation of Frederick County to raise funds to pay for the park.
A skate park has been part of the Urbana Community Park master plan since 1988, but funding for the project has never materialized. Dial estimated the project would cost between $200,000 and $250,000, but that a smaller park could be built for less money.
The park’s design has yet to be planned, but it will be designed and built after the fundraising has occurred.
If the project doesn’t reach a $50,000 goal within three years, the funds would be used for other recreation projects at either the community park or Urbana District Park, he said.
Smith was concerned about the potential liability of the county for injuries in the park, but Shreve and Young said the skate parks don’t carry any more risk than other activities in the park.
“If someone gets hurt on a swing or a seesaw or a sliding board, I think it’s the same,” Young said.
Senior Assistant County Attorney Michael J. Chomel agreed, noting that the county has insurance that covers injuries at county parks.
“Risk is an inherit function of providing recreation,” he said. “...We do have insurance that covers certain aspects of it.”
Elizabeth Day, president of the Community Foundation, said the group will collect money for the project since it is set up to facilitate community-funded projects.
Since its founding in 1986, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $22 million in grants and scholarships to organizations, programs and schools in Frederick County. In fiscal 2011, the foundation awarded $2.8 million in grants and scholarships to about 270 organizations, programs and schools.
The organization sets up charitable funds for myriad causes, and collects and disperses funds, as well as ensuring donors receive appropriate tax deductions.
“We will pay the bills for the development and funding,” she said.
She said the idea was suggested by people who felt Urbana was underserved for skateboarders, and wanted to try to create a safe place for skating.
“A group of skateboarders who recognized the need for a skatepark came forward,” she said. “... They thought the time was right to get it developed. It’s also an activity that can keep kids in Urbana healthy and active.”
Joe Wallace, an Urbana resident and self-described “41-year-old skateboarder,” is one of several people behind the effort to raise money for the park.
The group, which hopes to raise as much as $350,000 for the park, has contacted local businesses and individuals who might be interested in donating, Wallace said. There are more than 100 people in a Facebook group for the potential skate park, he said.
“It’s just been a matter of there being a lot of skateboarders in Urbana with nowhere to go,” he said. “They hang out at the library and skate there, but nothing’s been done to accommodate them as they’ve been kicked out of these places.”