SARATOGA SPRINGS — The skatepark at East Side Recreation Park will soon be renovated for the next generation of skaters to enjoy.
Benj Gleeksman, vice president of local nonprofit OnDeck Saratoga, said he and his wife Belinda Colón, who is the president of OnDeck, have recognized the need for a modern skatepark in the city for over a decade. Gleeksman said many towns around the country are beginning to recognize the need for updated skateparks.
The East Side Rec skatepark originally opened in 1989, according to OnDeck Saratoga. The park is constructed out of metal, and Gleeksman said the metal ramps have been in place for over 20 years and are “getting worn out.”
The new park will be constructed with concrete, which Gleeksman said is a preferred material for construction of skateparks.
“(Concrete is) longer lasting, it’s a lot quieter, and it’s a lot smoother and faster,” said Gleeksman. “The metal ramps kind of rest on a surface now, so when you ride up them, it’s almost like hitting a separate obstacle, because it makes a clanking sound. With concrete, it’s kind of like riding one big, smooth piece.”
The new park will feature an improved bowl, a new halfpipe, and a series of banks, ledges, and rails, Gleeksman said, noting the park will also be friendly for skaters at all levels.
“The new design is going to be sort of friendly for everybody, beginners, intermediate, and advanced skaters alike,” said Gleeksman. “Little kids will be able to go out there, and start from the beginning and learn from the ground up.”
Gleeksman and Colón assisted the city in the selection of companies to send requests for proposals, and also helped select the vendor to design the park. Gleeksman referred to the process as “a partnership between us, as OnDeck, and John Hirliman in the Recreation Department.”
“I think that they really were appreciative of the fact that we have institutional skateboarding knowledge,” said Gleeksman. “For them to sort of recognize that, I think we’re humbled by it. We’re really honored to have been able to play the role that we have in working with them.”
Construction of the park will be conducted by Artisan Skateparks, a company based in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Gleeksman said construction will begin in mid-May, and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer.
He said the updated park can also help draw skaters in from other areas.
“And the great thing about having a skatepark like this is that it brings skaters in from other communities,” Gleeksman said. “And it also boosts tourism. If families are looking to vacation somewhere, and they have kids that skateboard, well one of the things they’re going to be looking at is, ‘Oh, I’m going to Saratoga Springs, is there a cool skatepark there?’”