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Private $ would rehab Bronx skate park

Wheels turning for new Allerton skate park

Bronx Times

The East Bronx’s skaters could soon have a new place to roll.

An Allerton local is ramping up local support for his idea to replace an “outdated” neighborhood skate park with an improved facility designed by a skate park sultan.

“It’s a park right now that’s stuck in the Stone Age,” said Ron Cicatelli as he pitched his idea to Community Board 11’s Parks Committee on Wednesday, Mar. 5.

Skate sensei on board

Cicatelli, a 33-year-old former staffer for Sen. Jeff Klein, said he’d replace the current city-owned skate park at Bronx Park East and Britton Street with a design from Steve Rodriguez, dubbed in the skating world as “Mayor of NYC Skate Parks,” thanks to his penchant for renovating dilapidated skate facilities throughout the city. Rodriguez’s parks often bypass city bureaucracy by finding private sponsors.

Among Rodriguez’s works are a skate park in the Lower East Side funded by a grant from NIKE, and another on River Avenue in the South Bronx, which was funded by the city as part of the $135 million spent to rebuild parkland taken by the new Yankee Stadium.

Attracting local kids

Rodriguez would spruce up the existing Allerton skate park to make it a skating destination, said Cicatelli. Like the skate sensei’s other popular parks, the proposed Allerton Avenue skate park would restructure the ramps and rails to allow for more freedom of movement.

“You could really make the area a place that welcomes adolescent activity,” Cicatelli said.

His idea skated through the community board’s parks committee, which gave it their stamp of approval. Locals have long listed adding youth activity space as a top priority. Neighborhood skaters are known to take to the streets instead of using the existing skate park.

“The kids around here just make their own skate parks,” said Andrea Siegel, who said she’s seen skaters trying out their moves on the steps and railings around Jacobi Hospital.

“A lot of kids are out in the middle of the street, sometimes I hold my breath when I see them,” said local Edith Blitzer of young skaters zigzagging through Lydig Avenue.

Boom for local biz?

Adding a new skate park would draw people to the Allerton Avenue strip, meaning a boon for local businesses, said Gene deFrancis, who runs a coalition of shops on the avenue.

Cicatelli said private funds are already in line for the project, but would not specify where the money was coming from.

Any redevelopment of the site would need to be approved by the city Department of Parks and Recreation, since the park is on city-owned land.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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