"One of my commitments to the community has always been to expand the recreational programs and facilities," said Mayor Brian Stack. "Also being the type and size of city we are, we've had to be creative to meet these commitments, including renovating existing parks to service the needs of the community."
The new skateboard park, which is a first for Union City, will be located at 39th Street between Kennedy Boulevard and Bergen Turnpike, and will feature over ten pieces of new skateboard equipment with a concrete surface to provide the ideal boarding environment.
"We have a number of youngsters who like to skateboard and have to go to other communities to practice," said Stack. "We found it necessary to provide them with a safe haven right here in the city, where they can practice and their parents can come and watch."
The 8,000 square foot park will include several pieces of skateboard equipment such as large and small half-pipes, rails, wedges and a corner pyramid, which skateboarders use as obstacles to perform stunts.
Some typical stunts are performed on a handrail, which is usually alongside a staircase, and is used as an obstacle to slide and grind down, and to fly over.
Half-pipes, which will be included in the park, are ramps of any size usually made of wood and also utilized for a number of stunts such as flips, jumps, and Nollie heel flips (see sidebar for skater lingo).
Originally the ramps were U-shaped, but now they are designed with a flat section between the bottoms of the transitions.
In addition, there will also be some passive areas to the park with new benches. The existing park also had two basketball courts, which will be refurbished with cutting-edge, color coated finishes, including lighting for the evenings.
"This is all part of the commitment to service and to provide safe spaces, where young people and families can enjoy the outdoors," said Stack.
Funding for the project
The funding for construction of the new skateboard park was completed by the city through a bond issue, which will also be funding multiple projects in the city.
"The city sells municipal bonds to raise money for public projects and this park is being funded out of that instead of through grants from other entities," said David Spatz, planning consultant for the city. "The bond is part of a bond for multiple projects, and the funding for this project is in the amount $290,000."
Union City has set the estimated cost and the basic design of what the project is going to entail. While their bond is still in the midst of getting final approval, the city is getting ready to put the contract for the park out to bid within the next two weeks.
"The bid will be published in the newspapers presenting the scope of the project," said Spatz. "Contractors who want to bid on the contract will get a copy of the plan and specifics of the project. Then [they will] provide the city with an estimate for how much they will do the project for."
The process can take anywhere from about two weeks to a month, and then the bids must get reviewed. If approved, the contracts will be awarded at one of the bimonthly Board of Commissioners meetings, and construction can begin.
"I would think that sometime in May they would be able to get started on it," said Spatz. Jessica Rosero can be reached at email@example.com Sidebar SKATEBOARD TERMINOLOGY
Also, just clarify for those who do not speak skateboarder, here is some terminology:
An ollie: a skateboarding trick, where the skateboarder pops the skateboard into the air, with the effect being that the skateboarder is jumping with the board stuck to his or her feet.
A Nollie heel flip: an ollie off the nose of the board, and then kicking the board with the heel toward the toe side.
Always wear helmets and pads when attempting these stunts. Be safe and have fun!