Apex to consider skate plaza design

aramos@newsobserver.comFebruary 23, 2014 

— Plans for the town’s first skate plaza are moving forward.

Christine Hilt, president of CLH Design, is expected to present the concept for a skating area at Hunter Street Park during the Apex Town Council’s annual retreat March 7.

The design will focus on a public plaza, not just a skate park. There will be open common areas where the town can host special events.

The skate area won’t feature difficult obstacles such as a half-pipe or bowls.

Instead, the plaza will likely have features that resemble existing amenities around town, such as benches and planter boxes, according to a preliminary design sketch. Small ramps are also part of the plan.

Teens involved in the design process said they preferred a facility with a good mix of advanced and beginner challenges. More-difficult obstacles are planned for future skate parks in Apex, said Parks and Recreation Director John Brown.

The town hired Cary-based CLH Design in September at a cost of about $22,000 to design the 12,000- to 15,000-square-foot plaza at Hunter Street Park.

The plaza would be located on what is now a grassy area between the soccer field and Hunter Street, said Jeff Roach, vice chairman of the town’s parks, recreation and cultural resources advisory commission.

“The Hunter Street Park is a great meeting place because of the soccer and softball fields and the dog park,” Roach said. “It’s in a highly visible area, it’s close to town hall, the high school. There’s a lot of destinations you can walk from.”

The parks board was supportive of the preliminary sketches, especially because installing equipment for skateboarders to do advanced tricks in what will be an unstaffed skate plaza could create an issue of liability for the town.

The plaza would finally give a place for skaters to practice in Apex. They have faced complaints from business owners in town because they often skate in parking lots and public areas. The front plaza of the Apex Chamber of Commerce has become a sort of de-facto skate park.

The future plaza at Hunter Street Park has the support of the skating community. About 50 skaters attended a meeting in September to voice the need for a place to skate. The closest skate park is in Cary.

Construction is expected to cost about $300,000 to $350,000 – about the same price as a baseball field, according to preliminary estimates Hilt presented in September.

It will be up to the Apex Town Council to decide whether to adopt the design and how to fund construction.

Ramos: 919-460-2609; Twitter: @AlianaCaryNews

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