Planning for new city skateboard park will continue

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Umling updates council on work with bike advisory committee

Cumberland Times-News, Greg Larry

CUMBERLAND — The Cumberland City Council gave the nod for the continued planning of a proposed skateboard park after hearing the details from city planner David Umling during the regular council meeting held Tuesday.

Umling, who has been working with the Cumberland Bicycle Advisory Committee on the project, gave a presentation that included two possible sites.

A viaduct site is situated between North Mechanic and North Centre streets on Cumberland’s North End, and Springdale Park at the corner of West Third Street and Springdale Street in South End.

The skateboard park is in the planning stages with no official designs or funding in place at this time.

Umling said that a park would require 4,000 to 12,000 square feet of land.

“It’s (the cost) about $160,000 to 600,000 depending on the size,” said Umling. “This does not include design costs.”

Citizens raised concerns about the need for the park in September. The issue was delegated to the advisory committee for further study.

The group works closely with BMX biking, which also has associations with the skateboarding community.

Although the park would be for skateboarding only, a biking facility currently exists in the Mason Sports Complex off of Virginia Avenue.

“Why is the Mason site not being considered,” asked council member Butch Hendershot.

Umling said that the skateboard enthusiasts wanted soemthing closer to their neighborhoods.

Further planning will involve design, funding strategies, construction concerns and risk study.

“One of the city’s biggest concerns is the liability issue,”?said Umling. “You can not completely elimate the potential liability. But, we are looking at ways to manage the liability.”

Umling distributed a chart showing skateboarding as a relatively low-risk activity when compared to other sports.

The presentation to the council included comparisons to other biking and skating facilities in the state like ones in Gaithersburg and Bowie.

Mayor Brian Grim said following the meeting he supports the idea and felt it would help keep the skateboarders off the downtown mall.

The meeting was the final one for Hendershot and Councilwoman Mary Beth Pirolozzi, who were honored for their service at the meeting.

They will be replaced by newly elected member Dave Caporale and Nicole Wagner.

The city provided the funds for a fenced skate park at the YMCA Riverside Recreation Center in 2006 and the Y operated it for five years.

The park was closed after a young city man, Bradley Bridges, lost his life there in August 2010 as the result of an accident. The under-used fa-cility has since been dismantled.

Greg Larry can be contacted at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.