A proposed 40,000-square-foot skate park planned for beneath the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge has faced a number of setbacks, but it could be ready to open by the end of next year, organizers said.
The Charles River Skatepark is expected to draw not only skateboarders from around the region, but also BMX riders and in-line skaters. “We plan to start preloading the ground this spring and complete the drawings and permitting for a construction starting date in March 2013,’’ Renata von Tscharner, the president of the Charles River Conservancy, said in an e-mail. “The construction takes nine months, which brings us to an opening date of December 2013.’’
It is an opening date that has been a long time in the making.
The conservancy, a nonprofit advocacy group aimed at renewing and maintaining the Charles River Parklands from Boston Harbor to the Watertown Dam, began planning to build the skate park in 2001. But 2008’s economic downturn and the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s concerns about the cost of long-term maintenance combined to stall the project.
The state sought money from federal stimulus grants and Big Dig mitigation funds and considered contracting a third party to build the park while the conservancy maintained it. Last year, the state reverted back to the original plan of allowing the conservancy to come up with the money privately and build the park, von Tscharner said.
Now the conservancy is holding $2.5 million it raised between 2004 and 2008, and maintenance is to be covered by the DCR and money raised from special events.
Skateboarders said yesterday they are eager to see the possibilities realized.
Broderick Gumpright, at his Orchard Skateshop in Allston, said he is excited to see the plans for the skate park coming to life and expects it will attract skaters young and old who have been searching for their own space. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for the kids of Boston to skate without getting in trouble,’’ Gumpright said.
Pedestrian bridges will allow skaters to reach the park from Cambridge, downtown Boston, and Charlestown. The North Bank bridge, which links North Point Park to Revere Park in Charlestown, will be completed in June, von Tscharner said.
Johanna Kaiser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.