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Posted on Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:20 a.m.

Ann Arbor Skatepark design awaits approval from City Council

By Ryan J. Stanton


The Ann Arbor City Council is expected to vote on this design for a new skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park.

City of Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor City Council will be asked to approve the design for a new state-of-the-art skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 7.

The city and the county have been working closely with the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark and California-based skatepark designer Wally Hollyday to create the design for the 30,000-square-foot, in-ground, concrete skatepark.

Construction is planned to start in the spring with completion by this fall.

The Planning Commission already reviewed the design and had no objections. The city's Park Advisory Commission unanimously recommended approval of the design on Dec. 18.

Amy Kuras, a landscape architect for the city, told council members in a memo the city's parks staff worked in conjunction with the city's water quality manager and the county water resources commissioner's office to address stormwater design elements.

"The design will exceed city stormwater standards per Chapter 63 of the City Code, and the work above and beyond will result in a zero discharge to the stormwater system," she wrote.

The drawing included in the council packet shows the proposed skatepark will include a wide range of elements for skaters, including a snake run, kidney pool, clover pool, flow bowl, small bowl, street course, reservoir ditch, volcano, slappy curbs, quarter pipes and concrete sculptures. There also are landscaped stormwater retention areas and rain gardens integrated throughout.

The Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark has raised more than $100,000 from private donors, plus a $300,000 grant from the state's Natural Resources Trust Fund and $400,000 from the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission to pay for the skatepark.


City of Ann Arbor

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:34 p.m.

Bring back the 12' vert ramp! Anybody remember that? Used to be up on top of the sledding hill.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 4:20 a.m.

Is it just me or would the skatepark be better located on Main St. at the city garage/proposed greenway site?


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 12:06 p.m.

It's just you.


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 2:24 a.m.

This was unanimously approved by city council tonight. Congratulations to all who worked so hard on this!!


Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 1:32 a.m.

This looks great. I'm getting sick of people telling me I shouldn't be rollerskating on the ice ponds.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:32 p.m.

Am I making this up or was there not a giant half pipe just north of there next to the rink in the late 80s/early 90s. Why was that torn down?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:28 p.m.

Heh......I gotta's the Knight's crowd feel about a skatepark being put in literally across the street from them...

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:09 a.m.

... or how a bunch of board-heads feel about real athletes being right across the fence from them on the baseball field.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:36 p.m.

Hey, this will need to be wheelchair accessible, right? I kinda wanna see that in action.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

Looks like a good time! Will they be killing the crabapple trees?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:05 p.m.

breath of fresh air in this age of ipad-centered childhoods


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:57 p.m.

I'm a supporter of the skatepark and say "Good going, Trevor et al" for pushing to get this done. Some of the negative comments remind me of a kid I saw skateboarding on the downtown public library steps last month. I said to him, "I bet you'll be happy when the skatepark is built." His reply was "Oh that will never happen." I couldn't convince him that it would. Some people!!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:13 p.m.

REGAIN SANITY! DON'T BUILD THE SKATE PARK! SPEND THE $1 MILLION WISELY! You can see the disregard for safety in the picture on the fourth page of which shows seven youngsters "showing off" with their skateboards but without any safety equipment. The Friends of the Skateboard Park and its website should be more responsible and set proper examples. This ingrained disregard for preventing injury is likely to extend to the use of the skateboard park which will remain unsupervised and unfenced. Injuries will occur and the City can be expected to be sued as it retains ownership of the property. The lack of supervision and fencing will prevent the City from obtaining liability insurance specifically designed for skateboard parks. Unfortunately, the State's Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission are granting $700,000 of taxpayer money towards construction of the skateboard park. Surely there are better causes that can be supported by these funds which will benefit more than the 5% of Ann Arbor residents expected to use the skateboard park. Since most users of the skateboard park will be between the ages of ten and eighteen transportation to Veterans Park may be an issue for those not living close enough to walk or skate board to get there. A few may be licensed to drive and even have access to cars while the others will have to use buses or hop rides with others. Anyway for many getting to the skate park may be an issue, except on weekends. Well, the less the park is used the smaller the opportunity to crash into to others and causing injury. Then again I expect that a number of students will want to skip classes so that they can practice their 360 flips, Nollies and varials at the skate park. But look out for those crossing jump paths that can be wicked. And crashing into the concrete or brick walls should be great fun also. Great mayhem; bring a camera; upload to YouTube!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 11:56 p.m.

The Friends of the Ann Arbor Skate Park appear to be collecting donations through the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation. does not mention whether it is incorporated as a non-profit organization exempt from state and federal taxation. The history of the effort to create a skateboard park does mention that a non-profit booth was open at The Art Fair this summer. Trevor Staples, chair of the Friends' board and its six other members must have authority to spend money and hire architects unless the skate park design shown in the article was done pro bono. I would expect that any liability suit will name the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skate Park organization and its board members but any compensation from them will likely be limited. The City will certainly be named since it owns the property, has "deep pockets" and has approved the designs which are lacking in two basic safety requirements: a lockable fence and supervision during operating hours. The City Council members have received emails warning them that approving construction of a skate park without adequate fencing and supervision may destroy any defense against injury except, perhaps, gross negligence on the part of the injured skateboarder. Even insurance companies which provide liability insurance specifically for operators of skate parks will not insure if fencing and supervision are not provided.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:39 p.m.

Here! Here! Let's use the money to buy a new building for Blimpy Burger!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:31 p.m.

Your comment makes me wonder if the Dept of Natural Resources and Washtenaw County approved their grants only if the city or the Friends of the Skatepark agreed to accept full liability for any injury. I would think anyone funding this might be held liable for any serious injury a user might suffer.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Are there any plans for how to allow the regular skateboard types in but keep the skateboard-and-graffiti types out?

Unusual Suspect

Tue, Jan 8, 2013 : 3:07 a.m.



Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

There is a difference?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:21 p.m.

why this and no skating rink in town? so a few hell raisers can hurt themselves and sue the city. great job ann arbor parks. what a waste.

Tom Whitaker

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

Last time I skated at Buhr Park, it had a roof, but was otherwise open to the weather, so mostly outdoors. I also skate at Yost, which is cheap and with all the new windows, is bright and cheery. Regardless, count me in as one who would love to see one of those temporary ice rinks installed on the Library Lot every winter. Many communites do this, from Detroit to Dexter. There's a gorgeous one that gets set up within a sculpture garden in Washington D.C., too. Some places leave it to Mother Nature to freeze, but others use refrigeration to help her along. What a great family draw that would be for the downtown. Anyway, I think we could have both that AND a skateboard park if the City's spending priorities were better aligned with the desires of its citizens.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:52 p.m.

It is supposed to be 40-50F much of this week, so those outdoor skate rinks will probably be kinda useless.

Unusual Suspect

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8 p.m.

Wait... the Burns Park neighborhood is LACKING something?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:35 p.m.

i meant out door skating rinks like Ann Arbor had for years at Burns and other parks.

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

There are a number of opportunities for ice skating in Ann Arbor, including the Vets Park and Buhr Park ice rinks and the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. U-M's Yost Ice Arena offers public skating times as well.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:31 p.m.

There are multiple skating rinks. What are you talking about?

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:27 p.m.

Have you been to Ann Arbor? The vets park skating rink is within LINE OF SIGHT to the skate park location. So, yeah, "what a waste". If you want something for your community, work hard to organize it, and raise money. For years and years and years. That's what it took to make the skate park happen.

mike gatti

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 6:03 p.m.

This just in. The Historic Commission has just killed the project saying that it does not fit its criteria. also, the ramp is too high as compared to the other ramps in the neighborhood.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 9:46 p.m.

Why the snark? Did someone trick you into living in a historic district? The vast majority of owners in historic districts presumably want to live there and are capable of understanding the trade-offs. Areas that aren't in a historic district ... aren't. If you don't understand or don't like the results of living in an HDC, then ... don't.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:16 p.m.

If it were only true!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:30 p.m.

I think they hated the fence too.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

SO SO glad it's finally going to happen. Great job with leadership, Trevor!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

Are they tarping it during the winter months? Maybe along with this the old ann arbor skate rag "Local Chaos" will make a comeback. This sure beats the quarterpipe in the Beal's driveway over by Oxford road where I learned to shred vertical. Although, I preferred grinding my Indy trucks on concrete benches and the like around town.

Tom Whitaker

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:53 p.m.

Great to see this finally getting close to becoming reality. I've seen skate parks like this in numerous small towns around the country and they are always in heavy use (when not snow covered, of course).


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:45 p.m.

So what will it be used for once the short lived infatuation with it wears off? I see it being used initially but soon it will have minimal use which will lead to it becoming an eyesore due to lack of use and upkeep. Another hole in the taxpayers pocket. Sure hope the supporters continue to dig deep.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

I recall the last skateboard project and how that ended up but this one offers a lot more to do so I suppose it will be more successful. I think of two things: what the yearly costs might be and all those videos of skaters doing stunts that bust themselves up. Is the urgent care facility on the NW corner in on this? Will HVA stage a unit here? Who will pay for staff? I would think if you need a lifeguard at a pool you would need one here.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:13 p.m.

The "short lived infatuation" that led to the initial idea for an Ann Arbor skatepark dates back at least a decade, probably much longer. I've seen bumper stickers and other items promoting the building of a skatepark since shortly after I moved to Ann Arbor in 1999. I imagine that many of those who first wished for an Ann Arbor skatepark for their own use now have children who are of an age to actually use it. "Short lived infatuation" my eye.

Ryan J. Stanton

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

Skateboarding has been popular for decades. It was a favorite pastime for many of my friends growing up in the '80s and it's still popular today. You'll see that if you go to skateparks around the state that have been around for many years (I'm most familiar with the one up in Bay City) -- you'll see they're often crowded with youths looking to practice their sport. I don't think that's going to change anytime soon.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 6:05 p.m.

Let's make a bet. I say this skatepark outlasts either of us. Loser gets "He was completely wrong about the skatepark" inscribed on their tombstone.

Soulful Adrenaline

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:42 p.m.

People will easily drive an hour to use that skate park. It will cater to local and non-local. If you build it they will come. I know of people that drive several hours to use the climbing wall out on Jackson ave.

Chip Reed

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

I skateboarded on nearby Doty Street in the mid-60's. Do you also believe that rock & roll is a fad that will die out soon?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 5:16 p.m.

Not sure how much of the city's funds will be spent on this project but it looks like a sizable amount of funding is coming from other sources to include private funds. Skate boarding and inline skating has been ongoing for over 20 years in Ann Arbor. If it were a short term fad, it would have been gone a long time ago. This skate park will provide the opportunity for the city's youth to have plenty of outdoor fun. Better this than spray painting graffiti.

Nicholas Urfe

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

WOW! That is so gnarly. Are you stoked? I am totally stoked.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 7:29 p.m.

I'm a little stoked.

Dog Guy

Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:35 p.m.

Stormwater . . .check! But where will the ART go?


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Looks awesome. Kudos to the group for raising money in house and knowing where to get local funding for a great project.


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

Makes me wish I were young again ... and had any skills on a skateboard whatsoever. Build it!


Mon, Jan 7, 2013 : 3:55 p.m.

Looks RAD dude!