Parks and Recreation Commission unveil design for potential new skate park
On Wednesday, March 11, at the Parks and Recreation Commision monthly meeting, Park & Recreation Director Dan Wendorf, unveiled the design for the potential new skate park in Merrill. The design, created over several months, was the work of the skate park design and construction firm of Spohn Ranch of Los Angeles CA. In July of last year during a public meeting, much input was given to skate park designer Vince Onel by the Park & Recreation Commission, the Mayor’s special Skate Park Committee, local skaters, and members of the community in regards to the design, as well as Mr. Wendorf and long-time skate park advocate Heather O’Neill who have helped to steer the project.
The finished design, shown on large renderings, was met with much praise by all who attended the meeting, and as a result, the Park & Recreation Commission officially approved the new skate park design. This project could be completed in the near future, contingent on funding. With the design of the project already paid for, monies must be raised for construction and necessary amenities. This cost is estimated to be in the 1.5—2 million dollar range and will include a 22,500 square foot all-concrete skate park in three shades of stained concrete with custom features, lighting for night use, low-maintenance landscaping, and two entrances with benches, shade structures, bike racks, trash/recycling and water fountains. The location will be at the M.A.R.C., just west of the Smith Center in an open grassy area and will contain the new skate park, space for portable bleachers and room for future expansion at the north end.
In commenting on the finished skate park design, O’Neill said;
“After 4.5 years of working on this project, I finally have something to show for my efforts. The design by Spohn Ranch is fantastic and meets all of my expectations—it is large, unique, and attractive. It also meets my strict criteria of representing our area with interesting features, safe design, a good balance of street and transition skating, and is for all levels and types of skaters. I believe that it is a design that will attract new skaters and will be a destination for skaters and their families from miles around. If we can find the funding for this worthwhile project, our new skate park will be yet another amenity for Merrill to be very proud of.”
“In addition, this skate park will easily be able to host special events, regional and national, which will bring many visitors to our community—events that I would assist with planning,” O’Neill continued. “In closing, I would like to thank all those who have supported this project; Dan Wendorf and the Parks & Recreation Commission, Mayor Woellner, City Administrator Dave Johnson, Alderman Paul Russell, the members of the Mayor’s Skate Park Committee, Jon Kurth owner of Central Board Shop in Wausau, local skaters who gave their valuable input, and members of the Merrill Community.”
The design of the new skate park, which can also be viewed on the Facebook page of the Parks & Recreation Department, has already generated much enthusiasm and positive comments by Facebook users.
“We were very pleased with the process and the amount of input we received was tremendous,” Said Parks and Rec Director Dan Wendorf. “This design was very well thought out and we cannot thank the countless volunteers who helped create the design we see today. As the City of Parks, we are extremely proud of all of our parks and this new skate park will create another diverse amenity for our citizens to enjoy – as well as a destination park to attract visitors from near and far. Special thanks to Mrs. O’Neill, Mayor Woellner, the Special Skate Park Committee members, and all of the skaters who voiced their opinions to help us create this world class skate park design.”
“Now the difficult part begins,” Wendorf added. “We will need to rely on the generosity of our community and beyond to make this dream become a reality.”