A rendering of the location of a future skate park in Geer Park. (Courtesy/city of Salem)
In a few years Salem could have a new skate park in southeast Salem and the city wants residents to weigh in.
A survey released Tuesday asks people to share their priorities for skate park features in Geer Park.
The survey is available until Nov. 16, but there will be several opportunities to weigh in during the 6-month design process.
Salem currently only has one skatepark, the one in Marion Square Park.
It opened in 1995 and a Statesman Journal editorial and letter to the editor at the time described the idea as a healthy outlet for bored Salem teens.
“Salem has a history of being as tolerant of youthful exuberance as Sister Mary Joseph was of spitballs during history class. That is to say, not very,” wrote Maren J. Wryn in a 1995 letter to the editor. “If you’re teensomething and wear baggy clothes and a hat turned backward, you’re recognized by most Salemites as a menace to society.”
She said the skatepark offered Salem a chance to separate the “wheat from the chaff.”
An article from Sept. 16, 1995, described newly finished skating bowls bringing life to the park, with skateboarders, inline skaters and BMX bikers crisscrossing through the concrete bowls.
“Not long ago, a sunny afternoon would have seen Marion Square deserted, except for an occasional drug dealer or a few sleeping homeless men. Not anymore,” the article said.
Rob Romanek, parks planner, said the city has been updating its master parks plan for the past two years and during that process a skate park was a high priority.
It will be located on the north side of Geer Park next to the existing bike track.
He said the survey will help the city identify who’s going to be using the skate park – rollerskaters, BMX bikers, scooter riders or skateboarders.
That can help them determine if they’ll put a half pipe in or street skating features like rails or ledges.
“What do they want to see to make it useful to them?” he said.
Evergreen Skateparks is leading the design process. The company has built several skateparks around the U.S. including several in Oregon like the skatepark at Windells Ski Camp in Mt. Hood and Luuwit Skate Park in Portland.
The city will use the design to estimate how much it will cost and identify funding. Construction is slated to start in spring 2024.
The skate park will be approximately 20,000 square feet, have a construction budget of $877,500 and incorporate features for all ages, abilities and skill levels, according to the survey.
Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected].
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