The proposed Spring skate park moved one step closer to reality today with City Council’s approval of the Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority’s capital improvement plan (CIP) budget. The CIP includes development of a 10-acre north Houston site into a world-class skate park to complement downtown’s Lee and Joe Jamail Skate Park, and a “park without limits” to accommodate children with special needs.
“This project will help fill a recreational void in the Greenspoint area, allowing children to play close to home” said Mayor Annise Parker. “In addition to being a draw for residents from the immediate neighborhood and all over Houston, it will entice skateboard enthusiasts from around the country.”
With 72,000 square feet of skate surface, the $5.5 million skate park will cater to the young and young-at-heart. The Spring skate park’s unique design includes a world-class competition-scale Texas bowl featuring a full pipe, 12-foot vert ramp, 10-foot bowl, banked walls and speed hips, plus a couple of backyard-style pools and three beginner/intermediate/advanced flow bowls. A section designed to emulate the street-skating experience will have ledges, rails, benches, banks, quarter pipes and stair obstacles, providing fun and creative challenge for skaters of all levels and interests.
“The Spring Recreational Area is near and dear to the hearts of many in this community and throughout the region,” said Elvin Franklin, chairman of the Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors, the group responsible for the facility. “We thank City Council for allowing us to proceed, and we look forward to working with them.”
A second aspect to the recreational facility, the park without limits, will be named Dylan’s Park after a child who was severely injured, and later died, from child abuse. Dylan’s Park will have areas designed to engage children who are sight-impaired, hearing impaired, autistic or wheelchair-bound. The park will also include open grassy areas for unstructured play, and the facility will be completely fenced.
“Families with special needs children need these kinds of parks,” said Marti Boone, director of Be An Angel, which serves special needs children throughout the region. “They promote unity and add to productive lives and healthier bodies for those that have far too little resources for outside fun.”
Funding also provides for walking trails, a community center, a management office and public restrooms. Maintenance will be handled by the Greenspoint District, which maintains other parks developed by the Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority. The District and the Authority are also working together, with other public and private sources, to create a system of trails connecting the area’s parks to Greens Bayou.
“Skateboarding has been shown to have therapeutic applications for autistic children,” Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Sally Bradford noted. “And the small inclines of the beginner’s skate area are perfect for wheelchairs. We could even close off the skate park for a couple of hours a week for wheelchair games, effectively making the entire facility a park without limits,” Bradford said.
“A park with no limits, a park for skaters, a park to be connected to the bayou greenway along Greens Bayou – it is precisely these types of projects that will benefit our city’s health and urge more of our kids to get outside,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, the executive director of the Houston Parks Board. “As the City aims to complete the Bayou Greenways Initiative – an initiative that will create parks and trails along all seven of the major bayous throughout the city – a project like this is a wonderful example of how smart planning works for the benefit of our community,” Okan-Vick concluded.
Design for the facility is complete and with today’s approval from Houston City Council, construction is expected to begin by the end of the year. Opening is scheduled for Spring 2014.