LAKE GEORGE -- After years of advocating for a skateboarding park in the village, local teens may soon get their wish.
Lake George Mayor Robert Blais said design of a skate park at the former Gaslight Village property should be complete soon, with construction beginning as early as this fall.
“The goal is to have the park ready for next spring,” Blais said.
The design phase is expected to wrap up in three to four weeks, following one final meeting between the design firm and area youth who have championed the project. Once the concept is finalized, the project will go out to bid.
Blais said a place for teens to legally skateboard has been a long time coming. The concept had been discussed for years, but the biggest struggle was finding the right site and raising enough money — both of which fell into place a year ago.
The skate park is to be located in the northwest corner of the former Gaslight Village property, which will soon become Charles R. Wood Park.
As for funding, the village has agreed to contribute $20,000, the town may donate $10,000 in occupancy tax funds, and another $35,000 has been raised by a committee.
Blais said there is enough in transportation enhancement grant or funds from the Charles R. Wood Foundation to cover the difference.
The project is expected to cost $150,000, up from previous estimates of $100,000, because of the quality of materials to be used.
“We shifted gears in the middle and decided on concrete elements instead of wooden ramps and metal,” he said. “We wanted it to blend in with the rest of the park.”
Patricia Dow, vice president at Lake George Steamboat Co., has been meeting weekly with students to help keep the momentum going.
She said the teens want the plans to include a “bowl,” as well as street-skating elements like benches and stairs, as opposed to ramps.
And while it has taken so long to get the project rolling that some original teen participants graduated, Dow lauded their commitment.
The project has taught the teens about the civic process, local government, fundraising and how to build community support.
Recently, one of six to eight core members suggested developing literature about the park to pass out to local businesses this summer.
“When they came in and announced they wanted to do a brochure, I was like, ‘Yes, they have arrived.’ They’re really cooking now,” Dow said.
A meeting with the designer earlier this month was well-attended by local youth, who were asked for their input on three to four options. The company will return in two weeks to present a final concept.
Donations are still being accepted to defray the cost, and additional fundraisers have been discussed, such as an auction of painted skateboard decks or a coin drop.
“The more we can raise locally, the more we can put toward other park elements,” Blais said.