Youth who are learning to skateboard will soon have a safe place to do so in Van Cortlandt Park.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held on Tuesday, April 11 on a new skate park and a separate basketball court in Van Cortlandt Park near Broadway and West 242nd Street.
The skate park will be the first public facility of its kind in the borough’s northwest corner when it is completed, ceremony attendees said.
The overall $1,118,000 project is the culmination of a about ten-years of efforts by community youth to get a skate park built so they don’t have to travel to upper Manhattan, for example, or practice in the street, said attendees.
Council funding was allocated by former Councilman Oliver Koppell and supported by his successor Councilman Andy Cohen.
The mayor’s office also provided funding, according to the NYC Parks Department.
The skate park will help transform the western portion of Van Cortlandt Park, becoming a destination for skaters of all ages, said Cohen.
“This reflects modern attitudes about the use of the park, really responding to the needs of young people and the interests of young people,” said Cohen at the groundbreaking ceremony.
Another advocate for the project, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, urged Parks at the ceremony to get the skate park built. According to Parks, anticipated completion is the spring of 2018.
The assemblyman said during the ceremony that about a decade ago, a young man came to his office with more than 1,000 petition signatures from community people requesting a skate park.
“I think what this shows is that when the community comes together (and) has a specific goal for something that is good…we can actually make it happen,” said Dinowitz.
The assemblyman believes that with the addition of the skate park, Van Cortlandt Park will now have something for everyone.
Daniel Padernacht, Community Board 8 chairman, thanked the City Council for funding and the Parks Department for their hard work.
“The skate park is going to offer a great place and a safe place for skateboarders and children to come out and practice,” said Padernacht.
The Van Cortlandt Park Conservancy and the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park took part in the groundbreaking.
One of the skaters who as a youth advocated for the skate park, Michael Alfano, 21, said that he had been working on making it a reality with his skateboard team ‘Pixelated’ since he was just 14.
“We just thought that this was the perfect place for it,” he said of its location, adding that members of his team attended numerous CB 8 meetings over several years to make sure the project was on the board’s agenda and progressing.
According to Parks, the skate park will have a concrete pavement with raised elements, while the basketball court will include asphalt paving, color seal coating and backless sports benches.