APEX — The town plans to raise money to help build a skate plaza.
The Apex Town Council approved the conceptual design for “Trackside” at Hunter Street Park during its annual retreat earlier this month. The plaza could open as early as July 2015.
It will cost about $635,000 for an 8-foot-deep competition bowl, landscaping, additional parking spaces, asphalt, benches and rails.
Apex hopes to raise between $140,000 and $170,000 to help pay for the project.
The plan is to sell naming rates for a $120,000 pavilion that could double as a bandstand.
“We are looking not only for businesses and individuals who are interested in making monetary contributions to this worthwhile cause for area teens, we’re also looking for volunteers who will help us in our fundraising efforts,” said Christine Hilt of CLH Design, which developed the plans for Apex and will help organize fundraising. “This is a grassroots effort. We want the skateboarding teens involved as well.”
Teens will sell “Adopt-A-Skateboarder” T-shirts. People can pay about $250 in support of a skater and the plaza.
Those who make donations toward the skateboarding components of the plaza will be recognized on an art piece that will be located at the site entrance, Hilt said.
Council members said the town is willing to fund the majority of the project, but they want the public – especially local teens – to gain a sense of ownership.
“I think it’s important for us to build a facility and let the public fund these additions,” said Councilman Scott Lassiter, referring to a skate “bowl,” signs and landscaping. “Let’s get the facility there and let them make it their own.”
The town hasn’t asked for community support to build projects such as soccer or baseball fields. But council members say this is different.
“The difference with softball and soccer is they pay a user fee,” said Councilwoman Denise Wilkie. “If they are out there raising money, they take better care of it.”
Apex has a history of asking the public for help to fund local projects as a way to encourage civic involvement.
Residents helped pay to replace some of the aging American flags downtown by sponsoring a flag in honor of a veteran or active military member. The town’s Service Memorial on Salem Street was paid for mostly through the sale of bricks.
Through the plaza project, skateboarders could finally have their own place in town to skim off rails and flip their boards. Apex doesn’t have a skate park, and skaters are often shooed away from the parking lots of local businesses.
Hilt said public plazas like the one planned for Apex are becoming popular throughout the country.
“They started in California, creating and duplicating downtown urban conditions for skateboarders,” she said. “The other part of this is getting people used to skateboarders.”
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