BANGOR, Maine — When he isn’t working at Sears, attending Bangor High School and United Technologies Center or helping his father race a Honda Prelude, Tyler Lancaster likes to skateboard.
“I like to get out at least two or three times a week. It’s something that I am passionate about,” the 16-year-old Bangor resident said Friday. “I grew up with my brothers, and they skated a lot.”
That passion is among the reasons Lancaster and other skateboarders were heartened to hear Friday that city officials plan to relocate and upgrade the Bangor Skatepark at 531 Maine Ave. Recreation officials are examining several locations and considering suggestions from skate park users regarding the new park’s features, Bangor Parks and Recreation Department Director Tracy Willette said.
The city-owned Maine Avenue site is likely to be sold soon, forcing a relocation. Before moving to Maine Avenue, the park was located on what is now Cross Insurance Center property, where city officials held skateboarding contests.
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“There are maybe a half-dozen [potential locations], tops,” Willette said.
The city park on Second Street, some of the city’s riverfront property and the lot behind the rec center offices off Main Street are among the sites being considered, Willette said.
The Bangor Breakfast Kiwanis and Rotary Club of Bangor also have expressed an interest in relocating or adding to the skate park, but Willette said he hasn’t yet heard from or approached those organizations. Attempts to contact those groups were not immediately successful on Friday and Saturday.
Recreation officials also have a tentative new park design. They hope to meet with park users again sometime this month — no date has been set — to go over the new design, Willette said.
Skaters at the park Friday said they generally liked the location of the present skate park for its proximity to convenience stores and a main thoroughfare. Kids from nearby apartment complexes keep the park stocked with users. The park’s large concrete slab — dug up old military property that was thriftily repurposed — is roomy, they said.
“It’s a good location because if you want to get something to drink, the gas station is right there,” 16-year-old Sheldon Schuhert of Bangor said.
They are less enamored with the worn-out wooden half-pipes and other distressed equipment, lack of shade and dustiness of the Maine Avenue site.
“This place is a dump,” 19-year-old Caleb Welch of Bangor said. “I don’t really like it. I just come here because of the people who are here.”
“Under some of the ramps, there are probably about a thousand pieces of broken glass,” Schuhert said.
The equipment is from the original skate park located at what is now the Cross Insurance Center and dates back to about 1999, said Willette, who agreed it needs an updating. Based on suggestions from skaters, americanrampcompany.com‘s design of the new park is triangular, flowing, with built-in slopes and jumps, with half-pipe ramps at the corners.
City officials hope to decide where to locate the skate park and buy new equipment for it over the winter, Willette said. They will likely work with local civic groups to raise funds to buy new equipment and relocate the park next spring. Exact costs have yet to be determined.
“It could cost a few thousand to $100,000,” Willette said.