Friday, March 04, 2011

Neutaconkanut Skatepark Backstory

Jim Murphy interviewing Sam Batterson in Juice #58:

What are you working on now?

We're working on Providence Skatepark. Here's the story. They had a skatepark on the plans. My girlfriend's friend drew up the trees on the plan for the city. I made the calls and skated down to town hall and picked up the plans. The bid was closing the next morning, so I opened up the plans, and it's a bunch of quarter pipes sitting on a large asphalt slab. I was like, “Oh man. We're finally getting a skatepark in Providence and this is what we're getting?” I fretted about it for two weeks. Then I called the city. They called me back and agreed to meet with me. I drew up a sample park and made a presentation for the sample cost, and the bid was $85,000 with prevailing wage. It had a little bowl on one end and a quarter pipe on the other end. It was a good little park for really cheap. They told me they were really impressed with my work. We met with the council people and they all agreed. I was in. Then after a few meetings, they said, “You drew up this plan in one day. Why don't you take a week and draw up the best park you can imagine?” It all worked out.

And you kept the price low?

Yeah, it was like $18 per square foot.

Does it have any pool coping?

Yeah, it's got about 76 feet of pool coping. I know there are stories of the urban skateparks, but this park is really urban. Everything you see on the street is in that park. We've got curbs, benches, Jersey barriers, fire hydrants and manhole covers. You can skate it around and never have to push. It's constant flow every inch.

Do you have handrails?

Yeah, we've got handrails, too.

[laughs] Oh, perfect. I just love handrails. It's really hard to find handrails, so I guess you have to build them somewhere.

Okay, Murf. Look. I'm not building it for you. I'm building it for everyone in the city. Kids that want to grind pool coping can go to that park. If someone wants to skate a 4-foot handrail, they can do it legally in this park.

Why only 4 feet?

There's a limit by law in Providence. That's the limit without supervision.

Is that because of insurance?

Yep. I think it can be changed. There's an argument that something 4 feet tall isn't necessarily safe either.

There was about six inches of ice on the flat bottom Tuesday. Maybe skateable next week if the weather holds?

No comments: