Easthampton skate park plans taking shape, public meeting Monday

  • The city of Easthampton and a group of advocates for a new skate park behind the Municipal Building on Payson Avenue hope to one day see people doing tricks in Easthampton, as this skateboarder did two years ago at Northampton’s Skate Park. A meeting to discuss Easthampton’s plan is scheduled for Monday night. Gazette file photo

Staff Writer
Published: 4/5/2022 9:08:49 PM
Modified: 4/5/2022 9:07:47 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Preliminary plans for the city’s first official skate park, behind the Municipal Building on Payson Avenue, are set to be unveiled next week.

For nearly three years, Easthampton Skatepark organizer Angie Falkowski and her group have been exploring sites and raising awareness, support and funding in an effort to create a skate park in the city. Those plans take a step forward Monday, when the Planning Department seeks public input on the design of the skate park at an information-gathering meeting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building’s second floor meeting room at 50 Payson Ave.

The city will also be releasing a survey on the Easthampton Planning Department accounts on Facebook and Instagram on Friday.

Through the group’s combined efforts and assistance from City Planner Jeff Bagg, they were able to secure $42,500 in Community Preservation Act funds in January to create designs, establish cost estimates and hold meetings related to the proposed skate park.

“The need for a skate park was identified in the city’s 2021 open space and recreation plan, and the funding for a design marks the city’s commitment to provide an alternative to organized sports,” Bagg said in a statement.

Though the city has a number of recreational opportunities with multiple soccer, baseball and basketball fields, as well as tennis and pickleball courts, Bagg said that there are not any other diverse recreational activities in Easthampton.

A prefabricated skate park previously built by Scituate Concrete Pipe Corp. behind Eastworks was eventually torn down due to its poor condition.

When Easthampton Skatepark brought their ideas before the city, member Eddie Comini said that Bagg, Mayor Nicole LaChapelle and At-Large City Councilor Owen Zaret helped identify a potential location behind the Municipal Building and the Public Safety Complex at 32 and 50 Payson Ave.

“Easthampton’s skate park project represents a true community effort, bringing a quality recreational opportunity with low economic cost to youth of all ages,” said LaChapelle in a statement.

The city hired Tampa, Florida-based skate park design firm Platform Group in February to create a design and cost estimate suitable for future grant funds. After meeting with the founders of the company, Tito Porrata and Ryan Clements, Falkowski said that choosing Platform Group was the best decision for Easthampton.

“They are just as passionate as we are about wanting to create a great skate park for western Mass. We all agreed that the park should include a street plaza along with fun transition features, and Platform Group has presented some great ideas,” she said. “I am looking forward to the public meeting and hearing what the community’s feedback is on the design … I’m stoked about the design and only expect it to get better after the public meeting.”

After the initial April 11 meeting, a second meeting will take place in May or early June in preparation for possible application for construction grants in July, according to Bagg.

Cost estimates will come after the second meeting, but most parks seem to be ranging between $500,000 and $750,000, he said. One possible funding source the Planning Department is looking into is the state’s Parkland Acquisition and Renovation for Communities grant program, which can provide up to $400,000 for this type of project.

In addition to Falkowski and Comini, other Easthampton Skatepark organizers include Jeff Burke, Matt Boucher and Noah Halpern-Mcmanus.


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