NORWAY – Between $20,000 and $40,000 more is needed to start construction on the Oxford Hills Skateboard Park, planning committee member John Parsons said Friday.

The $177,000 facility is planned for Charles Street in Paris to cover approximately 6,500 square feet. About $83,000 has been raised so far, he said.

Norway selectmen last week asked why the Skateboard Park Planning Committee doesn’t use the money it has on hand to build something now, even if it’s less than what it wants.

Parsons said the committee looked into building a relatively low-cost asphalt park, but it learned from people in the industry that those “quickly fall into disuse and disrepair and end up being abandoned. It really was not a wise thing to dump $80,000 to $100,000 into,” he said.

The committee met with Wally Hollyday of California Skateparks, who proposed a concrete park for about $177,000. Parsons said the committee made some adjustments to the plan, including eliminating one of the two bowls “to try to bring the price down to a scale that we could meet.”

The smaller scale park would be around 4,500 square feet and cost roughly between $103,000 and $123,000. If more money is raised, the bowl or bowls could be added later, he said, bringing the park to around 6,500 square feet.

The intention of the committee, Parsons said, is to create a facility that will last and will maintain the interest of skateboarders as their skills increase. In order to do that, the park must have fixtures that can be used in a variety of ways.

Parsons envisions a park that a parent can bring a young child to as a beginner and continue to use as the child grows and becomes a better skater.

Three weeks ago, the committee learned from a contractor who would pour the flat concrete base that the cost would be about $35,000, more than what the committee expected.

Another concrete contractor is looking at the plans and is expected to give an estimate also, Parsons said Friday. Two other contractors who were asked for bids said they did not have the expertise for the job.

“It was something local contractors haven’t dealt with,” Parsons said. He said that a few days before getting the concrete estimate, the committee applied for a $25,000 grant to cover the cost of that work. If it gets the money, the project will still be $15,000 short to start, he said.

“I’m so proud of these communities for the support they have given kids,” Parsons said. He said hopes that people will come to see skateboarding as “a legitimate physical activity,” like baseball, and realize “there is no safe and appropriate place” to practice it now.

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