Beaver Dam’s skate park is ready to go with room to grow.
After years of organizing and fundraising, the concrete was finally poured in 2018 for the skate portion of the Patrick Parker Conley Park, 203 Fletcher Rd., north of the high school, where there is also a BMW bike track and a fenced dog park. Elements like ramps came later in the year. A common question on the local Facebook chatter pages is whether the park is, in fact, ready.
“This is the start. There’s room for expansion,” said Joann Lehman, one of the skate park organizers. “In order for that to happen, we need to have input by the skating community. If they want their park designed by a teacher who’s never skated in their life, they’re going to get a cement slab. We need them to be involved for this to move forward.”
Mike Erwin, another organizer, said they raised more than $40,000 and received numerous contributed services and materials like landscaping. The city dedicated $25,000 for the park in 2018, but ended up only needing about $5,000 of it due to the fundraising effort, and the rest went back into the general fund.
“I had a few tears,” Lehman said of when she saw the park finally become a reality.
Erwin said supporters had always envisioned a taller starting ramp into the park, and it would be good now to have skaters on board to help the guide what to do next.
Out-of-town skaters Cody Taylor and Aaron Monte were out in the sun to skate on Thursday. They said one of the main things the park still needs is room for transitions.
The skate park is a city park, and the city does do some maintenance work, but Leman said the hope is that volunteers and the people using the park will shoulder the responsibility of keeping it in order. She has organized volunteer work sessions to do things like clear out old vegetation, and organizers look at how to make maintenance simpler.
Some other future goals include putting up a shelter, bringing in running water and having a permanent bathroom, things that will need advocacy and fundraising. Erwin said he hope to have events in the future, like skating events, as a way to raise more money.
Organizers are also working on a time within a few weeks to stage a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which never happened when the park first opened.