Skateboarders have been utilizing an area in Washington Park to practice their favorite activity for several years. Now, that space is about to be turned into an official, renovated skate park.
The area known as “The Banks” or “The Blue Banks” in the park, along Madison Avenue near Robin Street, consists of four old tennis courts. The nets have been removed and skateboarders have essentially created their own park there, adding in boxes and other objects for jumping over.
In June of this year there was a public meeting held to discuss plans to convert the space into a real skate park – the planning and response has been positive. The City of Albany has released a design for the park. Construction costs are expected to be finalized this month, with the work to begin next month, and the park is expected to be completed by November.
The budget for the project is around $235,000 – $100,000 is from a grant secured by Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy; $12,000 from the Washington Park Conservancy, fundraising, and donations; and the rest is primarily coming from money the city has set aside for projects such as this one.
Skateboarders who use the park appear to be happy with just a simple, decent place to practice their favorite pastime – they don’t need a lot of bells and whistles.
“All skaters here in Albany are happy just skating around a whole bunch of old garbage, compared to skaters in New York City who are happy skating at million dollar skate parks,” Trevor Culley told the Times Union; Culley owns Seasons, a skate shop on Lark Street, and has been skating in the area for decades.
“It’s not competitive at all, which is why I do it,” adds local skateboarder Peter Rioda. “There are no teams, coaches, or practices so you can pretty much do whatever you want.”
The skate park will be 20,000-square feet and will include obstacles that have been obtained during the design process. The construction will primarily be on the lower three tennis courts of the four; the remaining upper court may be developed later on if funding becomes available.
- Times Union: The House That Skaters Built