MALVERN – Groundwork began Wednesday on a new skatepark in Malvern, almost a year after a site was chosen. The site of the future park, 450 Locust St., has been vacant for over a decade.
Because of some erosion issues underneath the slab, the entire lot will have to be broken up to lay down a new box drain. As soon as the drain is replaced, the real work will begin.
“There will be a point there as soon as the design is finalized, but before we’re ready to pour the concrete when volunteer effort is going to go a long way,” said Lathan Harper, who currently oversees the project. “And the more volunteer effort we get in that period, the sooner that we’ll have that concrete up.”
The work began just as citizens began to voice complaints of promises not being met in the town, the skatepark being one of them. One citizen took his concerns to Facebook Monday, commenting on a post on the Malvern Arkansas Community page.
“Malvern is funny,” said Jacob Gray. “They donated a piece of unusable property to the youth for a skatepark that is literally falling apart due to an underground creek running through it, and put in the paper how they're helping out all the kids of the city by donating land for a skatepark but won't even help raise the funds to build the park.”
With elections right around the corner, some comments on the thread suggest that the move to begin work was politically motivated.
Early this year, the City Council set aside $30,000 for the project to get construction started, with the hopes of allocating more money next year after progress has been made on the site.
“Glad they might be finally honoring their word,” Gray said Wednesday, after seeing that work had begun. “I've noticed if you stay persistent with Malvern, they'll finally get tired of being called out. Malvern has so much potential to grow and be a really nice town. It's just up to the community to apply the pressure.”
Private and corporate donors have supplied those in charge of the project with materials such as bricks, concrete barricades and monetary donations. The park has been nicknamed “The Bricks,” and is planned to be centered around the theme to compliment the city’s moniker “Brick Capital of the World.”
“What we’d like to get is ideas about what the individual would want to ride,” said Harper. “Not what someone else would want to ride. What do you want to ride?”
Harper recently started an email list for those wishing to suggest features for the park or volunteer – email@example.com. He also created a foundation for the project, called Sk8 The Bricks Foundation Arkansas, which is actively seeking board members.
According to Harper, the design will likely be finalized about a week after the drain is installed. The tallest transition in the park is expected to be about six feet high, which is par for other skateparks in the area.
The city estimates that it will only take a few weeks to replace the drain and get started on the actual park itself.
“The next thing we’re looking forward to is seeing all the dirt and the culverts put in there,” said Harper. “And that’ll be our next milestone.”
For more information, or to get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org.