Ocean City to talk skatepark at Thursday meeting

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Consensus growing for Fifth Street location

Bill Barlow / John Bonino speaks in favor of Fifth Street as a location for a new Ocean City skatepark. Bill Barlow / John Bonino speaks in favor of Fifth Street as a location for a new Ocean City skatepark.

OCEAN CITY — A new Ocean City skateboard park may find a home at Fifth Street and Asbury Avenue, taking up part of the parking lot at the fire department headquarters. 

A City Council workshop meeting to discuss plans for a new skatepark in planned 6-8 p.m. Thursday, April 3 at the Ocean City Library, 1735 Simpson Ave.

A consensus seems to be forming around the site, said city business administrator Mike Dattilo.

“It’s just portion of that lot. We’re going to preserve as much parking as we can,” he said.

Councilman Michael DeVlieger, who represents the 1st Ward, said the skatepark will be the only topic for the meeting Thursday. He said he wants to hear from all points of view at the meeting.

“This isn’t just a meeting for supporters of the skatepark,” he said. “This is a meeting for the general public. Like all good ideas, it should go through a workshop.”

Ocean City’s former skateboard park at Sixth Street and Boardwalk opened in April 2002 but was dismantled in October 2011 after equipment was stolen. DeVlieger said many people asked about the skateboard park during his campaign, at which time he promised to work on bringing it back.

What DeVlieger described as a “broad based” committee, which includes council members, neighbors, a professional skateboarder and members of the surfing and skating community, including young skaters from the Ocean City Middle School and Ocean City High School, has been working on locating a site for a new park. Members are set to attend the Thursday meeting, he said.

Skatepark proponents attended the most recent City Council meeting March 27 to support the return of an Ocean City Skatepark. Among them was John Bonino, who described Fifth Street as a wonderful location. He said it will have a minimal impact on neighbors and that the location will allow for oversight by city officials.

Resident Greg Whalen told council, “I’m 50 and I still skate.”

He said he often takes his children to the skate park in Upper Township, which he said was a great place to skate, but he would like to see the same thing in his own community.

According to Dattilo, there is still a lot of work to do before plans are finalized. Even the location may still change, he said.

“We’re still very much in the concept phase,” Dattilo said.

In December, Mayor Jay Gillian announced that a conceptual design had been developed for a new skateboard park, but at that time had indicated that his administration would recommend it be located just north of the Sports and Civic Center near the boardwalk, near the former location.

Below is a conceptual drawing of the proposed skatepark at Fifth Street:

 

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