Original Story: Revamp of Goldsmiths Skatepark
The skatepark at Goldsmith Recreation Ground will be refurbished later this year.
Over the last year Crowborough Town Council has been consulting with users of the existing skatepark about what improvements they wanted made.
Councillors have agreed to spend £60,000 on the project, using money collected from developers to pay new infrastructure and community facilities.
The specialist company Wheelscape, who have previously constructed the skatepark in Jarvis Brook, has been chosen as the designer and builder.
Russell Heideman from Wheelscape told CrowboroughLife about the new facility:
The design includes features similar to parks the users have visited and enjoy such as the park we build nearby in Uckfield, we are also looking to make repairs to the existing halfpipe whilst we install the new elements to the facility, this should make it an all round great skatepark.
We had previously installed a skatepark on Jarvis Brooke recreation ground in Crowborough which has been a great success and in turn we are excited about re-vamping the old under-used park at Goldmsiths Leisure Centre.
Tommy Chamberlain has been the main person liaising with the David Foot, the Operations Manager at the Town Council. Tommy is 20 and from Ashleigh Gardens in Crowborough, but is currently studying mechanical engineering at the University of Surrey. He told CrowboroughLife about how he involvement in the project:
Last year, I had originally planned to make an event/tournament for the Summer break, however things fell through and people dropped out so it didn’t happen. At the time I was trying to get some help from the council with this but my studies became the priority in the end. A few months later they contacted me about the plans to upgrade the skatepark for this Summer, and straight away I was on board.
Many people had been complaining about the quality of the park, but no one knew how to get their points across to the Town Council. We also haven’t been properly organised for almost 5 years now, so we weren’t able to formally make changes as a group. That’s when I realised I needed to take action.
I was involved with the project because even as a young adult my enthusiasm for blading has helped me shape who I am today. All extreme sports are about self improvement and applying yourself, overcoming fears and learning new skills. It is what makes a large part of me and my friends who also use our skateparks, no matter what kind of sport they are doing. I felt like as one of the eldest members of the park, I wanted to become a role model for the youth of the skatepark; and to show that we too are members of the Crowborough community who care. Never have I felt such a strong sense of community greater than what we have at our skateparks, and I plan to form a stronger relationship with the Town Council in terms of events and future developments of our beloved skateparks.
Last summer safety issues were identified with two items of equipment during the periodic Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents inspection. The Town Council proposed installing new equipment for skaters and BMX riders, which would have the additional benefit reducing noise. Visits to other more modern skakeparts in the area were arranged and they began consulting with the user group.
Tommy Chamberlain told CrowboroughLife there are a number of problems with the current skatepark:
The plastic ramps are falling apart, and cracks are starting to form on the concrete ramps. The gradient and transitions of the ramps are too steep at times, meaning that a lot of energy (and speed) is lost on impact.
The coping (the metal pipe that is a standard addition on many of the ramps) protrudes too far outward, which makes skating them incredibly difficult and dangerous.
The floor of the skatepark is also very rough. This means that as a skater, you feel the bumps under your feet that eventually causes a numbing sensation. It also stops the ground from drying quickly, so after even the shortest period of showers the park is rendered useless for several days at a time.
The current park has the obstacles too tightly packed together, leaving very little room to work with when skaters are trying to make full use of the park.
There’s not enough variety! Some of the obstacles are too small that the BMX riders cannot actually make contact when trying to grind them.
Russell Heideman from Wheelscape said the project has been great to work on as there is such a focused user group, led by a very passionate council member (David Foot)
Looking at the design with Tommy and the rest of the users was great as David had given me a clear indication of what they wanted when we looked to make changes to the design to fit the needs of the users the changes needed were minimal.
Mark Webster another of the skatepark users said:
The park will be a great improvement as it hasn’t seen a revamp in a long time. We usually have to travel to bigger and better parks but if we have that facility in our town then we will have a great place to enjoy. Concrete is also a brilliant material as it lasts much longer than old style plastic ramps, drains quicker, smoother and less maintenance for the council.
Rob Watson, has been living and skateboarding in Crowborough for the last 5 years. He’s 18 and currently a student as Beacon:
Ever since I came to Crowborough the skate park has been in a constant state of disrepair. It has been seriously neglected. On many occasions this has led to some injuries that could have been avoided had the park been better constructed.
The skate park is a unique environment where, anyone of any ability is welcome. Unlike team sports skating is completely individualistic and you can do it in whatever way you want. As a more advanced skateboarder, I will sometimes help the younger kids who are just starting out get through the first two tricks that can take months to master.
With the new design there is something for everyone and I believe it will suit the needs of all abilities and disciplines. Previously the park was all fibre glass, which was really slippery, took hours to dry and needed maintaining constantly. Then the mini ramp (half pipe) was put in, although it started cracking within a few weeks of its completion. Next, some of the old fibre glass ramps were taken out and filled in with concrete by a building contractor, who are not skate park designers, and did a fairly bad job of it. What we ended up with was a mismatched mess of a park that had been ‘improved’ over years.
This new park offers a fresh start, built by a skate company that are well known for their quality and design. This new park will last for years without upgrade or improvement, being made entirely out of concrete that dries quickly, does not get slippery and also won’t crack.
Personally I cannot wait for the new skate park as we have been waiting for years for something to be done, even though we have constantly been campaigning for this to happen.
See CrowboroughLife‘s Facebook page about the youth shelter installed at Goldsmiths in March.
For more comments about the refurbishment, see Crowborough Skateparks on Facebook.
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