You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 5:09 p.m.

California firm moving forward with designing Ann Arbor Skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park

By Ryan J. Stanton


A skateboarder makes his way down Huron Street in downtown Ann Arbor. Supporters of the Ann Arbor Skatepark initiative are hoping to provide skateboarders a safer place to practice their sport next year.

Ryan J. Stanton |

California-based Wally Hollyday Skateparks is moving forward with designing a skatepark to be built at Veterans Memorial Park in Ann Arbor.

The Ann Arbor City Council voted 10-0 Monday night with Christopher Taylor absent to award an $89,560 contract to the company to design and provide construction oversight for the Ann Arbor Skatepark, a privately funded initiative that's been in the works for years.

The nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark intends to pay all costs for the design and engineering with donated funds, while the city donates the land for the project.

The Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation holds the donated funds and has transferred $89,560 to the city to cover the cost of the contract.

Wally Hollyday Skateparks was one of a handful of firms that responded to a recent request for proposals. A selection committee in June recommended going with Wally Hollyday.


Trevor Staples

Nick Dentamaro | For

Trevor Staples, president of the skatepark group, said the selection of Wally Hollyday means Washtenaw County will get the world-class skatepark it has been dreaming about. He said his group has nearly met its $1 million fundraising goal, and he hopes having the design process under way will get the community even more amped up.

The work begins now on designing a 30,000-square-foot custom concrete skatepark — a culmination of several years of community advocacy, fundraising and grant applications.

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.

The next steps include public input on the skatepark design. A final design eventually will be brought to the city's park advisory and planning commissions for approval.

Construction is expected to take place in 2013.

According to the firm's website, Wally Hollyday has helped design nearly 100 skateparks in more than two dozen states. That includes the Mission Valley skatepark in San Diego, the Kapolei and Manana skateparks in Honolulu, the Craig Ranch skatepark in North Las Vegas, and the Lower Woodland skatepark in Seattle.

The one in Ann Arbor will be its first in Michigan.

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.


Cindy Heflin

Mon, Jul 30, 2012 : 8:39 p.m.

Contrary to an assertion made in a comment above, the skatepark will have fencing, said Trevor Staples. It will not be supervised because that actually increases the city's liability, Staples said. The park will be covered under the city's existing liability coverage, he said. Staples also said the park will actually improve drainage in the area.

Trevor Staples

Thu, Jul 19, 2012 : 10:53 p.m.

Here's my absolute last post ever for My previous positive comments were deleted because I "outed" an anonymous poster who regularly posts lies about our nonprofit organization. does nothing to research the lies being told in the comments, and so they become believable. I've had discussions with the higher-ups here, and they assure me that nothing is wrong, that all is well. Commenters who post lies, then expect answers, don't get them. It is this publication's job in the community to report what is factual. When lies are left in the comments and not disputed by the publication, the value, integrity, and reliability of the publication is destroyed. This has been happening since day one. Anyone who has questions about our nonprofit, or the skatpark itself can reach me at I'm VERY easy to reach. Visit our website, search the City of Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County's websites, and search in the Ann Arbor Chronicle for detailed answers to all of your questions. Or, if you'd like to speak to me in person, as "Veracity" did yesterday, please stop by our booth in the Washtenaw Nonprofits section of the Art Fair. If I'm not there, have the volunteer call me and I'd love to come chat. As I said in my deleted post, we greatly appreciate our community's support for the Ann Arbor Skatepark. We couldn't be where we are without the tens of thousands of supporters in the Washtenaw County Area.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Park or no park, I'm over 50 and I'll still board full tilt down Broadway, Sunset Rd and at rush hour Eastbound down Miller Ave all without helmet, knee pads or teeth. In spirit that is .


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 2:32 p.m.

A bit of info for the historically minded (hysterically binded?). The location makes perfect sense. Directly across the street is the site of A2's first skatepark. Knight's Restaurant at one time was a beverage distributor and the concrete down-ramps located inside were thrillsville for a group of neighborhood boys. I'm talking metal wheels kiddies. When urethane wheels came about we moved over to Doty and the north facing downslope was quite the challenge for the 6th grade set! So keeping it "in the hood" is fantastic. I hope they don't have to take out any trees and metal wheels should NOT be allowed!

Chancey's mom

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

This past week my husband has driven my sons twice to both Westland and Northville/Farmington and once to Lansing in order to practice at skateboard parks. On all these trips he has stopped at restaurants and filled up for gas with money that could have been spent in the Ann Arbor area had our town had a facility. We are all thrilled to know one is going in our community! We are militant about the use of safety equipment as well as the need to supervise our kids. Some parents watch their kids at soccer practice; we watch our kids do skateboarding. Like everything, it takes a village. The presence of any adult makes a difference. Let's not demonize a whole sport just for the behavior of a few. Thanks, Trevor Staples! You have our support!


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

I see Veracity got a lot of thumbs down, but is it true what he/she says about the city being open to liability or being unable to get insurance because of no fencing or supervision? Is that how it is with the other cities that this out-of-state design company has worked for (can't believe no one is grumbling about THAT, lol)? Lastly,, is it your policy to allow posters to name other posters who have not used their name while posting as Mr Staples has done?


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 2:48 p.m.

Oh, okay "LUCY C", lol. pot meet kettle. I, too, am wondering about the liability---it's a fair question isn't it?


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

If people were using their actual names, the quality of posts an civil discourse in this city would increase about a thousandfold. Spewing out a nasty opinion does not make a difference. It doesn't show "the other side" it isn't "free speech" it is nasty, inappropriately aggressive and mostly throw-away speech. Kudos for outing the haters.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:02 p.m.

Great another place for kids to congregate unsupervised without any true mentoring so they can learn a skill that has no real world application! How about putting money into programs for youth such as Boy Scouts and 4H that teach real skill with measurable results and mentoring?


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

Boy Scouts? That hateful group?!


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

That's hooey. There will be plenty of mentoring. Come on down to the park and we'll teach you some fun moves.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:53 p.m.

Yes, fun things sometimes carry risks. According to the NIH, basketball is more dangerous than skateboarding. And the most dangerous part of skateboarding? Interacting with motor vehicles, which presumably won't be happening at the park.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

Trevor and the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark have nearly achieved their goal and we should applaud them for their efforts in spearheading and following through in bringing a world class Skatepark to our city! The community has voted with our time and money, making it crystal clear that a Skatepark is desired. As others have pointed out, injuries happen in any sport, yet to single out skating smacks of ignorance. If anything, a skatepark will keep skaters off the street and away from traffic giving them a safe place to practice. Again, bravo to the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark!


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

Beats the heck out of nearly a million dollars for a dry fountain outside City Hall.

Wolf's Bane

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

That "Fountain" is a joke as is the entire facade of the new Hall of Justice.

Geoff CUlbertson

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:02 p.m.

So much time and effort has gone into this project. You can not tell kids they can not skate on the street and then give them no alternatives. Most towns the size of Ann Arbor offer some sort of skate park for skaters to use. Will kids get injured? Probably but when I skated we used to jump each other with launch ramps on neighborhood streets with not equipment. How is creating a safe and dedicated area to skate going to change the chances of if a skater will get hurt or not? I have always supported the Ann Arbor Skate Park and this is a great day.. Jim and Trevor along with many others have dedicated a lot of there personal time and effort to this and I for one want to thanks them all..


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 11:51 a.m.

I am all for the skateboard community coming together to achieve their goal of building a skate park, but why is the Natural Resources Dept putting up 300k for it? What does a skate park have to do with natural resources? Why was the old "park" next to Vets Arena so under used? It quickly fell into disrepair and became an eyesore.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:12 p.m.

Since the 70s, I believe, the state has has a program to spend the profits from the sale of oil and gas leases to help build park facilities in communities across the state. The skatepark is a very appropriate and well-deserving recipient of some of those funds. Other recent deserving recipients include Rutherford Pool in Yps, the bridge to extend the Border-to-Border Trail in Ypsi, and many other recreational projects across the state.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 2:49 a.m.

This rocks! Of course it'd be even better down by the river!! Way to go, Mr. Staples.

glenn thompson

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 10:45 p.m.

The city spent millions in West park for storm water improvements. The result was increased flooding of the homes in that area. Now the city wants to spend $1 million to pave an acre of Vets park to increase storm water run off. Vet's Park is the ideal area for storm water retention and re-charge, not an area that should be paved for a skate park. If you live anywhere downstream in the Allen Creek drain expect more flooding.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 3:09 p.m.

why not remove one of the baseball fields for a retention pond. they seem to be unused most of the time.

Jim Clarkson

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 10:17 p.m.

You are rght Veracity there are going to be injuries at the new skatepark. Just like there are going to be injuries every summer, winter, spring and fall at the softall fields, baseball fields, basketball courts, swimming pools, ice skating rinks, tennis courts, kickball fields. Lets not forget all the bicycle accidents, pedestrian slip and falls, car accidents, motorcycle accidents and just plain old everyday accidents. Accordng to you we should all wrap ourselves in bubble wrap and hide inside our houses sandwiched between two mattreses.

Bryan Ellinger

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Jim, don't be a poseur. When have you ever risked life and limb?


Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 9:45 p.m.

The picture at the top of this article tells it all: no helmet or pads and nonchalantly skateboarding down the street. Safety appears to be of no concern. You can see the same disregard for safety in the picture on the third page of which shows seven youngsters "showing off" with their skateboards but without any safety equipment. Another youth on page 8 at least has knee pads but is not even wearing shoes on his skateboard. 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.


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 6:44 p.m.

I guess the pediatric psychologist doesn't have kids of his own...the park is a welcome addition to this community.

Robbie Small

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:27 a.m.

One last thing I forgot to mention. I have had 5 surgeries and have broken a multitude of bones. How many of these injuries are a product of skateboarding? 0. My injuries came from basketball, football, baseball, and various other accidents and medical conditions. Should we cut funding to children's sports teams, tare up basketball courts around the community, and stop giving millions of dollars in scholarship money to collegiate athletes all because they are 'unsafe?' I, personally, do not think so. Skateboarding is a sport just like basketball, football, swimming, etc. but it gets a bad reputation because skaters are misunderstood by their communities since the sport is not mainstream. Whether it is right or wrong, the photograph above is an accurate portrayal of the majority of older skateboarders. I wore a helmet everyday when I was younger and as I grew up I made the personal decision to stop wearing one. Is it stupid? Probably. These comments are not here to bash you, they are here to educate everyone who thinks the same way as you... and if I have learned anything over the past 10 or so years, that is a lot of people. P.S. here is my website: take note of the lack of helmets worn by skaters all around Michigan. I am not sending the message to not wear a helmet, I am telling you the truth about the majority of skateboarders over the age of 18. Is ESPN sending a bad message to parents and children by not making skateboarders wear full pads in competition? I don't think so.

Robbie Small

Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 5:13 a.m.

Veracity, I grew up in Bloomfield, MI and watched my surrounding communities (Farmington and West Bloomfield) raise money to build similar skate parks. These parks were an aid to the community for a few reasons: 1. Building a skate park gives athletes (yes, skateboarders are athletes) a place to practice their sport LEGALLY without being persecuted. This also means less tax money being wasted on paying police officers to 'bust' skateboarders who are just looking for a place to improve their skills -- skateboarding is a $100 fine in the city of Ann Arbor. 2. Buildings, sidewalks, handrails, stair sets, ledges, etc. are no longer being destroyed by skaters since they have a place to ride that is designated to them. This will also lessen the need for skate-guards on everything which detracts from the beauty of the city. 3. Increased SAFETY for pedestrians and skateboarders. How so? Since there is no skate park in Ann Arbor, skateboarders are forced to ride on streets and sidewalks. Riding amongst cars is much more dangerous than riding without a helmet or shoes. Move to the sidewalk you might say. Well, skateboarding on sidewalks can be a hazard to pedestrians. If a skater loses control, he/she may crash into a pedestrian which could cause major damage to both parties... after all, pedestrians never wear helmets. On a side note, how many bikers do you see wearing helmets around the city? Furthermore, skaters and their parents are grateful for skate parks meaning they would not sue the city because it could jeopardize having a park in the community. Drake Skate Park in West Bloomfield has been around since 2006 and the city has not been sued. Lastly, If you would like someone to be supervising the park you will have to shell out more tax money to pay for a supervisor. In 10+ years in the skateboard community I have never encountered an outdoor park with a supervisor. Watch this video... It may aid your ignorance:


Wed, Jul 18, 2012 : 12:02 a.m.

I'll be money that Veracity never wore a helmet as a child either! one pic of a kid skateboarding down a street does not mean the builders of the skatepark have no interest in safety.

glenn thompson

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 10:55 p.m.

Many of the features of this skate park will be beyond the skill level of most skate boarders. If would serve the youth of Ann Arbor much better to build several smaller, safer, neighborhood skate parks than to spend $1 million on a "world class park" that only a few adult skaters like Trevor Staples can really use.

Ron Granger

Tue, Jul 17, 2012 : 10:31 p.m.

The sky is falling! These whacky kids must be stopped!