Greenport Skate Park renovation plans revealed

Fundraising efforts to revitalize the Greenport skate park are propelling forward, thanks to renderings of what could rise from the ashes of the aging municipal facility.

Greenport Skate Park Inc., the nonprofit spearheading the community initiative, hired skate park designer Dug Ketterman of DugOut Design Studios to create renderings of a revamped Greenport skate park. Rena Wilhelm, the nonprofit’s president, said these renderings, which showcase three phases of renovations, will “catapult our fundraising efforts.”

“We knew we needed something more concrete and tangible [to attract donors] so we had the plans done,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “We love them, they’re on our website, and we put them on our social media and got a huge amount of feedback, a lot of excitement … That was nice to have that kind of engagement with the community.”

The proposed renovations, which will remain malleable as the community continues to weigh in, will honor many of the park’s hallmarks, including its 12-foot vert ramp, or half-pipe, the first of its kind on Long Island, and its beloved mini ramp, its most-used fixture. Plans also call for new fixtures for street skating, which has grown in popularity, and an additional mini ramp.

“I polled the community and asked everyone for their input, like a wish list,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “We got a ton of feedback on the kinds of fixtures that people wanted to see. Skateboarding has sort of evolved from when the park was built in 1998. The [current] trend is more like a street course, things that resemble sidewalks and stairs. Those kinds of things, we asked to be incorporated into the plan.” 

For the past few years, Ms. Wilhelm, The Suffolk Times’ 2022 Community Leader of the Year, and the team behind Greenport Skate Park Inc. have been rallying the community behind their plans to rejuvenate the skate park. Built in 1998, the municipal facility has deteriorated as concrete crumbled, wood rotted and graffiti and litter marred its appearance.

Ms. Wilhelm hopes a refurbished skate park will benefit skaters of all ages and skill levels. The first two phases of renovations call for the installation of new ramps and street fixtures.

“The first phase is basically the section of the park that is almost unusable,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “There’s one entire corner of the park where the whole facade of the ramp that was in cement has completely sloughed off, it hasn’t even been skateable for years. The entire foundation itself is asphalt and it’s cracked in many places, huge crevices … That’s where we’re sort of incorporating more fixtures for beginners. Another issue for our park is kids are really intimidated by the ramps that we have. Any fixtures that we did have that may have been okay for beginners are gone because they’ve been completely compromised and ripped out.”

The third phase called for the installation of a bowl — essentially a curved inground pool without the water — which drew backlash, as it meant the removal of a six-foot spine, or ramp, used by BMX bikers. Adhering to the community’s feedback, the nonprofit president said the community’s wishes will be respected and plans for a bowl will likely be scrapped.

“We’ll poll the community again,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “Who knows, maybe in five, six, seven years the trend has changed and people are very excited about a bowl,” she said. “At least at that time, we will have a design for it. But chances are, that’s not going to be installed.”

Phase three still calls for a pavilion to introduce some shade for skaters and other park users in need of a reprieve from the sun.

Now that the community has a better idea of what could become of the Greenport skate park, Ms. Wilhelm said the nonprofit must work with Alec Belden of American Ramp Company, who had a hand in the Montauk Skatepark renovation, to start putting a price on what it is looking to build.

“Before we actually spend the money on engineering plans, I sent [Mr. Belden] all of the graphics and based on that, he’s going to come up with what the engineering plans would cost, [plus] labor [and] materials,” Ms. Wilhelm said. “We currently have three grant applications into various foundations, and another one that I’m in the middle of applying for is due at the end of March. That grant is specifically contingent upon having that cost analysis.”

In addition to applying for grants, the nonprofit has been seeking funds from the community for years. So far, Ms. Wilhelm said, the nonprofit has raised approximately $60,000 and is seeking help from Greenport Village Mayor Kevin Stuessi to connect with other elected officials and secure state-level grant funding. The village must also approve plans for the skate park and issue permits for the renovations, for which there is no projected start date.