The Reading Skatepark Association held their final meeting of 2018 this past weekend at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading. With the mission to create a free outdoor, concrete skatepark facility within the city of Reading, the local nonprofit is seeing encouraging forward movement thanks to its core leadership and continued community support.
With the proposed skatepark property at 601 Canal Street held by an MOU (Memorandum of understanding) until October 2019, the association is in the process of finalizing the documents needed for the city to re-sign a more permanent five year lease. This process will take some time, but the good news is the RSA may have other ways to share the 1.8 acre property.
During the meeting JD Turner, president of the RSA spoke about a promising meeting with District 1 council member Lucine Sihelnik. While they met, Turner learned of another community project in need of a good home, a community green house. Back in the RSA meeting, Turner said couldn’t go into details about the green house project because the concept was still in development, but he was excited about the idea. (We reached out to Councilwoman Sihelnik for comment, however she did not provide any details.)
“I think we would be a lot stronger if we could partner with them to use the property, and we could share in costs of parking and restroom facilitates. Provided it doesn’t affect the planning we’ve already done” said Turner..
Of course all of this is tentative, how big the green house would be and what is built on the property for it is undecided. Currently, the skatepark, and accompanied facilities only take up 1/3 of the property.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to promote recreation and healthy living all in one area. At the end of the day we want this to be a Reading Park. Our goal isn’t to buy the property to have a private skatepark on it, it’s to turn it into green space for the community” Turner said.
A few new supporters also found there way to the meeting, including Reading High School Art teacher Zoe DeHart. Many of DeHart’s students use skateboards as transportation to and from school. DeHart came out to the RSA meeting to get a sense of how her students can be involved with the artistic side of the project.
“I feel like this is a natural way for my kids to be involved in the community and volunteer. I hoping they can help in the design and building aspects of the project, and to learn about possible future careers.” said DeHart.
DeHart says having her students involved is not just about the art, it’s about building a sense of community. “Being a part of the project from the beginning stage, i’m hoping my students can take ownership of the park when they use it in the future.”
The next Reading Skatepark Association public meeting is scheduled for Sunday, January 18th, 10am at the DoubleTree.