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Berkeley County eyes new site for skate park

July 21, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthew.umstead@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A vacant East Burke Street lot in Martinsburg is being eyed by recreation officials as a possible new site for a community skate park.

The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks & Recreation Board agreed Tuesday to ask the City of Martinsburg for support in building an outdoor skate park near the East Burke Street railroad underpass.

The skate park would be unsupervised, but Steve Catlett told board members that it would not increase the parks and recreation board’s liability insurance.

The new site would replace the park and recreation board’s BMX/skate park at 39 Kelly Island Road. The indoor 6,100-square-foot facility closed May 31. 

The skate park’s manager notified Catlett this spring that he was closing his pro skate shop at the facility at the end of May due to a lack of business and had plans to move back to Texas.

R.M. Roach & Sons Inc. (Roach Energy), which owns the former cold-storage warehouse space that housed the skate park, also separately notified Catlett that they would not be renewing the lease for the space.

Catlett told board members Tuesday that metal ramps purchased for the skate park were removed from the Kelly Island Road facility and now are in storage. The parks and recreation board used about $100,000 of a donation from the now defunct Beth Jacob Congregation in Martinsburg to open the skate park in 2009.

Catlett said he likes the East Burke Street site because it is shaded.

“I don’t think there would be any resistance (from the community to having the skate park) there,” Catlett said.

Ward 5 Councilman Jason Baker said the development of the city-owned lot for a skate park on the south side of East Burke Street would be good for the neighborhood, but added that a discussion about the facility’s operation must occur.

“We need to be cautious once it’s in operation that we’re very courteous to the neighborhood,” Baker said.

To address safety concerns, Baker said he support the use of surveillance cameras at the park, as long as they are limited to the recreation area.

The site might not be feasible if it is determined to be in the flood plain, and Catlett said they would need to have a concrete pad poured for the skate park.

If the East Burke Steet site proved to be unsuccessful as a skate park, some attending Tuesday’s meeting discussed whether the lot was large enough to be converted to a basketball court.

Catlett told board members that the metal ramps — which cost about $50,000 — likely would sell for much less than the purchase price and suggested it would be better to at least try to find a new location for a skate park before selling them.

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