Recent News and Updates
January 2, 2013- Newton native helps design skatepark- Newton TAB
December 12, 2012- New Charles River Basin Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting presentation- MA DCR
December 6,2012- Skatepark to be greener and more accessible- Cambridge Chronicle
October 23, 2012- New Charles River Basin Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting presentation- MA DCR
October 22, 2012- Charles River Skatepark design includes local elements- Boston.com
October 16, 2012- Design Team Unveils Skatepark Plans- Beacon Hill Times
September 20, 2012- Boston's Skatepark Finally Due to Break Ground - WBUR Boston
September 12, 2012- Skateboard park designer to meet with boarders- Boston Globe
July 27, 2012 - Deal will get long-delayed Skatepark rolling - Boston Globe
The Charles River Skatepark project began over ten years ago. Throughout this period the Charles River Conservancy (CRC) and our project partners, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), have been planning this state of the art facility, which will be the first large-scale skatepark in New England. The park will be located under the ramps of the iconic Zakim Bridge in East Cambridge, adjacent to the newly constructed North Bank Bridge, which connects North Point Park to Paul Revere Park in Charlestown.
The skatepark will feature both street and transitional elements for skaters of all levels. The wheel-friendly park will be designed to accommodate skateboarders, BMX riders, and inline skaters and will provide seating for spectators who wish to watch the athletes in action.
Action Sports Design (ASD) and Stantec, an international design firm, are the architects of the skatepark. ASD has designed skateparks across the country, including the world’s first-ever “green skatepark”, as recognized by the Tony Hawk Foundation, in St. Cloud, Minnesota. ASD is determined to create a one of a kind facility that captures the creativity and imagination of skaters from around the region, featuring design input from over 400 local skaters and professional skaters, such as Boston native Andy MacDonald. The design will incorporate popular skate elements from unique skate-spots throughout the greater Boston area to give it an authentic local feel.
ASD will work to maximize opportunities to incorporate “green” elements into the design and construction of the skatepark, including systems that promote the natural treatment of stormwater runoff, recycled and reclaimed building materials and a construction-phase waste management and recycling plan. Every effort will be made to develop the site in a manner that promotes the ecological integrity of the Charles River and surrounding parklands. In addition, the design will blend with the existing parkland, making it an aesthetic addition to New Charles River Basin. As ASD principal designer Mike McIntyre describes it, “we are not creating a skatepark, we are creating a park that you can skate in.”
In the mid 1990’s Sculptor Nancy Schon approached the State (then the Metropolitan District Commission) about building a skatepark. A few years later Renata von Tscharner, now CRC President, asked her landscape design students at Harvard’s Radcliffe Seminars to design a skatepark under the Zakim Bridge. In 2000 the CRC was founded and immediately began working toward transforming this vision into a reality.
In 2001, skatepark planning was underway and the park received support from the State, Mayor Menino, and the City of Cambridge. In the following years the Cambridge site was selected and CRC hired Zach Wormhoudt to develop a conceptual design for the park. The New Basin Citizen Advisory Committee received regular updates on the skatepark project.
In 2004, a series of public meetings aimed at engaging the local skater community attracted input from over 400 skaters. Fundraising officially began and to date $2.5 million has been raised for the project.
In 2007 Skatepark designer and builder, Grindline, and the locally based engineering firm, VHB, were contracted by CRC to review site constraints and progress the design. In 2008, with the financial recession bringing about state budget cuts, DCR became increasingly concerned about their ability to provide long-term maintenance of the skatepark.
In 2009 DCR announced Big Dig mitigation funds from the Central Artery Project could be used for skatepark construction. With this decision, CRC’s funds could now be used for skatepark maintenance. DCR and CRC developed an operations and maintenance plan for a third party contractor but this approach would have delayed the skatepark by several more years.
In 2010, thanks to federal stimulus funds, construction commenced on the nearby North Bank Bridge (now completed) and Education First (EF) announced their intention to build a brand new building on the land adjacent to the skatepark, which will have a restaurant and public restrooms that will be available for North Point Park and skatepark users.
In 2011 DCR agreed to assume responsibility for skatepark operation and maintenance and CRC was put in charge the design and construction. In July 2012, CRC and DCR signed a Memorandum of Agreement, making these roles official.
In August 2012, CRC contracted Action Sports Design (ASD)-Stantec to update and finalize the project design and oversee construction of the skatepark.
In September, CRC held the first of two public meetings to gather design input from the skater community. Stantec completed the pre-construction geotechnical drilling. (click here for a photo of The CRC on site with the ASD/Stantec design team, pro skaters Andy Macdonald and Anthony Shetler, and Karl Haglund and Conrad Crawford from Department of Conservation and Recreation ).
In October, the CRC held the second public meeting to show the skater community how their input had been incorporated into the designs. DCR held a public meeting with the New Basin Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) in accordance with permitting requirements and to gather feedback on non-skate related aspects of the park.
Currently construction is scheduled to begin in spring 2013 with the skatepark scheduled to open late in the year.