Paris skatepark to open in June


PARIS – The skate park, which its builders are saying is the finest of its kind north of Boston, will open June 17. It’s been about five years in the making.

SAD 17 Superintendent Mark Eastman announced the opening at the Monday night school board meeting.

“We’re pleased to be here tonight after a very long time,” Eastman said before handing over the slide projector to Bently Hamilton, an Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School graduate who was integral in creating the skate park.

Hamilton showed slides of the construction of the round basins and smooth walls of the skate park, which was designed with help from Wally Hollyday, a designer with the West Coast company California Skateparks.

Eastman said the park has cost roughly $100,000. Costs were kept down by a cadre of volunteers who have worked on the park over the past few months. During three years or so of fundraising, donations and grants have come in from towns, the school board, businesses, organizations and individuals. Another $5,000 is needed in donations to pay for maintenance over the next few years, Eastman said.

The park was the idea of several students, including Hamilton and Greg Hutchinson, who helped galvanize community interest in 2001. Now the students have graduated. Hamilton is nearly 20.

“It’s a really nice park,” Hamilton told the school board. Wally Hollyday “is the best park builder in the world.”

According to a news release, the park is described as: “The street course, including rails, ledges, and a bank to curb will be as authentically street gritty as possible. The flow bowl consists of four interlocking bowls ranging from 6 to 7 feet deep with pumpable hips, metal coping and a roll-in.”

The language sounded a little gritty to those unfamiliar with it. Eastman let Hamilton do the talking, as he showed pictures of the construction stages, describing the steps in technical terms.

The June 17 opening of the Charles Street skatepark, behind the old Hancock Lumber building, will include ceremonies and activities throughout the day, starting at 10 a.m.