A Permanent Montclair Skate Park Slides Slightly Closer to Reality

Montclair Skate Park

Remember when Montclair’s township council passed a resolution for a permanent Montclair skate park back in July. Then, Skate Essex, a non-profit established to help local communities create safe skateboarding spaces and programs for children, raised funds at the Party 4 the Park in December to be used toward the first phase of the Montclair Skate Park at Rand Park.

On Tuesday, a permanent skate park in Montclair took another small step forward. Councilors Peter Yacobellis and Robin Schlager put up a Resolution to take the next steps for a permanent Skate Park at Rand Park that was ultimately tabled until the next council meeting. The resolution includes:

  • Initiate an analysis of insurance costs and implications for the Township with Garden State Municipal Joint Insurance Fund for the proposed skate park site.
  • Direct the Township to include construction and maintenance of a skate park at Rand Park in the plans for development of new or repurposed recreational facilities in town and in capital budget planning.
  • Direct the Township Manager and such staff as he chooses to collaborate with Skate Essex and/or other to be determined third parties to begin to work through financing, development, operation and maintenance planning for a permanent skate park at Rand Park.
  • Contingent on a favorable outcome from the insurance review, close the remaining two tennis courts at Rand Park and then allow Skate Essex and U.S. Olympian Alexis Sablone to construct professional skate fixtures to be placed on those two courts while the other park remains open for skating.

“Skate Essex has raised all the funds necessary for this work and the engineers are available to do the work beginning in March,” said Yacobellis Tuesday.

Yacobellis also stated that while the funding model, design and work plan are being developed, the plan could include taking down the fence between the two sets of tennis courts to make it one large temporary space and/or allow construction to start on one side while keeping the other open for use.

Yacobellis addressed that by closing the two remaining tennis courts at Rand, Montclair would be left with 14 Township courts and 10 County courts within the Town limits.

“This is a chance to reimagine that whole area. It’s not just about a skatepark,” added Schlager, who has been involved with effort to bring a skate park to Montclair for more than 20 years. Schlager mentioned the possibilities for the area that would include the skate park: enhancing basketball; creating pickleball courts; and adding bathroom facilities. Schlager voted yes for the resolution as did Councilor at Large Robert Russo.

Fourth Ward Councilor David Cummings and First Ward Councilor Bill Hurlock wanted time to review the resolution and voted no at this time. Third Ward Councilor Lori Price Abrams said she would endorse the resolution tonight, but out of a respect for process, would vote no.

Before the vote was finalized, Yacobellis asked to table the resolution until the next council meeting to give the other council members the time they expressed needing. Schlager seconded and the resolution will be on the January 18th agenda.

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