Home Haddonfield News A skatepark in Haddonfield? It could happen

A skatepark in Haddonfield? It could happen

It’s an idea that seems to come up in the borough every few years or so.

Why not build a skatepark in Haddonfield on one of the pieces of open space for the youth many see skateboarding along Kings Highway each day?

But despite the efforts of many, Haddonfield remains without such a park.

One local business leader, however, is looking to take the burden on his shoulders, but where so many have failed before, he thinks he has the know how and desire to get it done.

Brannon John, owner of Kinetic Skateboarding on Kings Highway, will be hosting a public information meeting on Wednesday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the borough hall auditorium to discuss the possibility of a new skate park at the old Mountwell Pool facility off of Reillywood Avenue.

“We’re encouraging anyone with an interest, anyone that opposes, or anyone that has any ideas about the park to come out,” he said. “The more people to come, the better.”

John met with Mayor Tish Colombi and Borough Administrator Sharon McCullough earlier this month to discuss the possibility.

Colombi said she neither “encouraged or discouraged” the idea of a skate park, but expressed doubts it could be built on that site.

“He said the site of the old Mountwell Pool would be perfect. I disagreed. We have a 48-inch water line that runs under that pool,” she said. “We’re most likely not going to break it up because of the possibility of damage to the pipe.”

Colombi also cited a major effort by local resident Tara Ryan to bring a skate park to the Crows Woods area several years ago. It would have cost the borough $300,000 to $400,000 to construct the park, Colombi said, and Ryan had to give up on the project because it didn’t receive enough support throughout town.

Add that to the borough’s liability insurance costs likely increasing if a park is constructed and it just becomes too costly a venture, Colombi said.

“I think that until I hear that there are more people interested in this project, I don’t see the possibility of doing this in Haddonfield,” Colombi said.

While there have been numerous movements and petitions floating around Haddonfield over the past two decades supporting the idea of building a skatepark, for whatever reason, they’ve all fizzled out and disappeared.

John, however, brings an extensive amount of experience to building community skate parks for little to no cost to the local taxpayers.

He spearheaded an initiative two years ago in Wilmington, Del., which saw the construction of a skatepark in an abandoned piece of property the city had long since forgotten about and were more than happy to hand over for a park project.

Using his connections in the skate boarding industry, John was able to approach DC Shoes and procured money for construction materials.

A local construction company volunteered to pave and smooth the lot as well. After help from local skaters and volunteers, the park was constructed without any cost to Wilmington taxpayers.

Labor was donated and the group raised an additional $12,000 for equipment.

John views a similar approach to a potential Haddonfield park.

Most townships have insurance already that covers liability for a skate park, John said, so this wouldn’t by an additional cost to taxpayers.

If the park is constructed with concrete and the obstacles are crafted out of concrete, there is “no regular maintenance costs, other than picking up trash for the site,” John said.

“As far as the elevation of the ground at the site, there are minimal grading needs. That’s part of why the area seems like a no brainer for a park,” he said. “The park can be as big or as small on how active the community is at wanting this there. It doesn’t need to be a million dollar project, but the more money we raise the bigger it could be. There are also state, county, and federal grants to be had for recreation purposes like this. There are a lot of ways to get money.”

As for injury concerns? John points to a 2004 study by the American Sports Data Association that shows that skateboarding actually has less injuries per activity than basketball, softball, baseball, and football.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m.

Check out a video about John’s Wilmington project here.

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