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 Mon, Jul 15, 2013 : 9:58 p.m.

City Council approves $1M construction contract for Ann Arbor Skatepark

By Ryan J. Stanton


The layout for the Ann Arbor Skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park. Construction is expected to begin sometime this summer.

City of Ann Arbor

The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve a roughly $1 million contract for the construction of a skatepark at Veterans Memorial Park.

The contract — larger than initially anticipated — is being awarded to the Ann Arbor-based Krull Construction Co., and the city has agreed to contribute up to $424,312 for the project now.

"This has been a long time coming," said Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, who applauded and ran over to hug Trevor Staples, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, immediately after the vote.

"I think it shows how the community and how this council and how the Park Advisory Commission all came together and worked something out," Kunselman said.

Construction is expected to begin this summer with the goal of completing all concrete work by this fall and some landscaping and other finishing touches wrapping up next spring.


Trevor Staples of Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark

Nick Dentamaro | For

The skatepark is expected to be a world-class facility and destination attracting both community skaters and visitors from out of town.

With costs turning out to be higher than expected, the City Council voted Monday night to increase the project budget from $800,000 to $1,224,312 — a total increase of $424,312 — and to chip in money from various city funds.

The council established an initial project budget of $800,000 last October, including $400,000 in grant funds from the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission and $300,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.

Another $100,000 came directly from private monies raised by the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, which paid for the design.

Colin Smith, the city's parks and recreation manager, said original construction costs were estimated at about $900,000.

Krull Construction's bid came in at $1.19 million, which still was lower lower than Bernco Inc.'s $1.25 million and Gerace Construction's $1.28 million.

The city elected to decrease the total contract amount through adjustments to the project scope, and material and equipment alternates, Smith said.


Ann Arbor City Council Member Stephen Kunselman, a supporter of the skatepark project and a skateboarder himself, skateboards down Liberty Street in the recent Fourth of July parade in Ann Arbor. He called Monday's action "one of my most meaningful votes" in three terms on council.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Adjustments included replacing decorative ground cover with grass and plant plugs with seed, replacing rebar with structural fibers, and eliminating some decorative boulders. Additionally, soil spoils will be left on site and regraded and seeded, which saves on hauling costs, Smith said.

All of those adjustments resulted in a total contract amount of $1,041,593. Krull Construction agreed to donate $10,000 toward the project, reducing the total contract amount to $1,031,593.

The original memorandum of intent between the city and the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark stated that capital construction costs were the sole responsibility of the nonprofit group. However, the city always retained the right to contribute to the costs at its discretion, and the city is now exercising that right.

Considering the significant community efforts put forth by the FOAAS and established project partnerships, the city's Park Advisory Commission recently recommended the project budget be amended to set a total project budget of $1,224,312 — consisting of $1,031,593 for the construction contract, $103,159 for construction contingency and $89,560 for design.

The City Council agreed to go along with that recommendation Monday night, pulling extra funding for the project from the following city sources:

  • $80,000 from the stormwater capital budget
  • $32,356 from the parks memorial and contributions fund
  • $30,356 from the parks maintenance and capital improvements millage
  • $22,977 from the parks general fund operating budget
  • $258,623 from uncommitted funds available in the parks maintenance and capital improvements millage reserves

Any portion of the $103,159 contingency amount that's left unspent at the close of the project will be returned to the parks maintenance and capital improvements millage reserves.

Council Member Sally Hart Petersen, D-2nd Ward, said she had a concern about the city making up the $400,000-plus shortfall in funding for the project.

"We seem to be here at the 11th hour and there's a hiccup in the budget, and it's several hundreds of thousands of dollars off — with the gap being filled from city funds," she said.

Petersen suggested a two-month delay in action on the construction contract to see if private fundraising could help close the gap. She eventually voted for the contract.

Sumedh Bahl, the city's community services administrator, said the project needs to be done by next August under the terms of the grant from the state.

"This proposal does request money that was unanticipated," acknowledged Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward, but he said he was willing to accept that.

Council Member Jane Lumm, an Independent from the 2nd Ward, agreed it was a good use of funds and pointed out the city parks staff and the Park Advisory Commission both considered it a priority.

Staples cautioned council members to consider "what could be lost" if they didn't approve the project — nearly $900,000 raised from the community, the state and the county, he said.

"This is something our parks system has needed for a very long time," said Mayor John Hieftje, adding he has confidence the nonprofit group will be able to contribute greatly toward the maintenance costs for the skatepark.

A new agreement between the city and the FOAAS outlines that the nonprofit group is responsible for all costs for the operations and maintenance of the skatepark through Aug. 30, 2025.

The nonprofit group will be required to hold at least one annual fundraiser at the skatepark, with all net proceeds going toward the maintenance, operations and future improvements.

However, the agreement also leaves open the possibility that the city — at its discretion — could decide to contribute funds toward maintenance and operations.

The agreement also spells out rules and regulations for the skatepark, which will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Wearing a helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and wrist guards is "strongly recommended and should be used at all times. Know your ability and skate accordingly," the rules and signage section states.

Graffiti in the skatepark will not be tolerated. Other prohibited items include glass containers, alcoholic beverages, vending, radios or boom boxes, and bicycles.

Noting the skatepark has been designed for all skill levels, the city plans to have signage asking skaters to please be courteous to other people using the facility and all other park patrons.

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.



Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 3:12 a.m.

What percent of kids even skateboard anymore? Seems to me this is a very passe sport, in addition to posing all kinds of liability risks? What was council thinking when they passed this project? Is this a done deal?


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 2:47 a.m.

I supported this 100% until I was watching the council meeting last night and saw them start tacking on city dollars. Now I support it more than 100%, since I am supporting it in spirit and with my tax dollars. Not so happy about this spending, but when compared to other things the city wastes money on it doesn't seem so bad. We let the DDA spend 250K on a sidewalk study, for example, and we are about to drop 360K to plop some art on the Stadium Bridge. Those two items would cover this overage nicely. It also shows you that despite having a balanced budget, there is plenty of money sitting around in various departments that can be had. Is this an example of the "buckets" Mr. Ranzini often refers to?


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 4:13 a.m.

DJBudSonic - You have no idea what projects and services may be delayed or shelved entirely because funds are being transferred for use by the skate park. There are no excess money in the City's budget. And there is no free lunch.

Steve Hendel

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

"Ann Arbor City Council Member Stephen Kunselman, a supporter of the skatepark project and a skateboarder himself, skateboards down Liberty Street in the recent Fourth of July parade in Ann Arbor. He called Monday's action "one of my most meaningful votes" in three terms on council." Pathetic. Three terms on Council, with all the different issues he has voted on (budgets, union contracts, police and fire issues, multi-million dollar bond issues, land acquisitions, etc.) and he classes his vote on the skatepark as equally meaningful?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 8:25 p.m.

It's about time. Denver installed a large skate park after similar fears about injuries, liability, vandalism, etc. etc., which were largely unfounded. Yes, skateparks attract a "gnarly" crowd, but it is a blast watching the kids go at it!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

This is great for the Vets Park area. It will help business at the restaurants, Dunham's, Sun and Snow, and many more. It'll also help a lot of orthopedic surgeons too ;) I think this will be a good place for families to hang out and use the park system.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:19 p.m.

Sounds like a HUGE waste of money to me.Doesnt the fire dept or police dept need a million?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:48 p.m.

Ryan why is your tubular story effectively buried? Put it as the lead from 5-7 pm today and watch the free fireworks!

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

Sometimes stories get buried, eh? This one certainly did. It's sort of like when you start asking about ties to SPARK.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:53 p.m.

Yeah, why did this disappear from the front page so quickly, but the V2V Arbor Hills store opening is still sitting on the front page?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Was there any mention of ADA and wheelchair access to the park?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

There are some great youtube videos of wheelchair users tearing it up in skate parks. I hope they come out in droves.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

I doubt that many disabled will be entering the park which does not provide bleachers for observation. I doubt also that a skate board can be operated by a wheelchair? But I like your second thoughts about the skate park.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:41 p.m.

Lol @ wheelchair access. This is for the "cool" kids and hip, soon to be hip replacement, parents.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:19 p.m.

Look at the plan, which appears to provide plenty of level or ramped access for wheelchair-bound spectators. In any event, wouldn't those be required by law?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:38 p.m.

"$258,623 from uncommitted funds available in the parks maintenance and capital improvements millage reserves" So our park maint and improvement fund is being raided to fund this new construction. That seems like an inappropriate use of those specific funds. How much is in the fund? What will the impact be?


Mon, Jul 22, 2013 : 3:15 a.m.

would be nice to have parks maintenance funds used for parks maintenance wouldn't it?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:34 p.m.

Council had no right to increase the budget for this without notice and public comment. When this was money raised by the skate park group, I didn't really care what they did. But now that they are over 50% over budget and a2 taxpayers are forced to kick in $400K, the public is entitled to scrutinize the plan and alter it as necessary. And since the group blew their budget by over 50%, it seems likely other aspects of their plan were not well vetted, or fully thought out. To me that is a warning sign of more pending taxpayer money down the tubes. A lot more. As a symptom, what is the long term impact of changing the concrete from rebar to fiber reinforcement? Where is the opinion on that change from a professional engineer? How much will that shorten the lifespan? Who will pay for the costly repairs? Make no mistake - fixing the concrete issues that *will* develop will cost much more than $5K a year. Where is the projection and financial model for the on-going concrete repair and maint costs?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

Nicholas Urfe - What happened? Did you have an epiphany? You are being realistic, thoughtful and practicable. Are you no longer stoked?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

It sounds like a lot of people need a lesson in how public money is allocated. Your "pothole money" is not your parks money. Additionally, look around town, there is construction EVERYWHERE, the pothole problem is being addressed. Other cities around the state and country have proven that skate parks are highly utilized even becoming a destination and contributing to the local economy. Parents bring kids, they buy equipment, they buy gasoline, they buy lunch. Adults skate. There are so many public parks in this city that go way underutilized, West Park just had god knows how much money pumped into it, still no one goes there. The skate park fills a niche that is more than people who want to lie in the shade under a tree. It will be a destination. Ann Arborites seem to fancy themselves cosmopolitan, we compare ourselves to larger cities, then we shun people who are trying to actually rise to the occasion and make Ann Arbor a better, more interesting place to live. "Keep Ann Arbor weird?" The only thing weird about A2 is that it's about 20 years behind everywhere else with its educational and income level. We need more projects like this. As for people getting hurt, graffiti, etc. Life comes with risk. I don't want to live in a milquetoast city that is so afraid that something bad might happen that we allow for nothing to happen. I applaud The Friends of the Ann Arbor Skate Park for your hard work over the years. You worked very hard to build a coalition and get people excited, to raise money (not nearly all of it city funds, btw). Be proud, this is happening and it's going to be great!

Steve Hendel

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

Don't be so condescending, Bubba. I spent 30 years in municipal finance, and one thing I learned is that more often than not the reason " your pothole money is not your parks money" is that someone or some interest group or even the voters have decided so. It is usually not etched in stone and can be changed by the same political process that brought it into being.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:15 p.m.

Soothslayer, you cry about everything, but we don't see you building american made skateboards, drilling for oil, or making sandwiches.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:14 p.m.

Bubba1111 - The skate park will not make Ann Arbor a better or more interesting place to live in except for perhaps the 500 youths willing to put life and limb at risk. All skateboarders allowed to use the skate park should provide evidence of adequate health insurance. I do not want to pay higher insurance premiums because of a skateboarder's daredevil mistake.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

"Your "pothole money" is not your parks money." Your stormwater capital budget is not your skateboard park budget.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:40 p.m.

>Parents *drop off* kids fixed >they buy equipment (made in China), they buy gasoline (mostly foreign oil), they buy lunch (where at? Knights, Zingerman's Road House?). If this was such a great idea how come some enterprising investment group build it as a for profit like the A2ICE3? Where do these skaters go to the restroom at? >life comes with risk We don't need to be heroes here, we can find a better balance between risk and reward that doesn't involve pavement - human or human - human collisions at speed. >hard work over the years And mega surprise contribution from the various city tax funds which they vowed not to use.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:11 p.m.

I don't have an opinion about the skate park one way or the other, but I couldn't let the below pass: " Krull Construction agreed to donate $10,000 toward the project, reducing the total contract amount to $1,031,593." That's HILARIOUS. When I go to buy a couch and the store quotes me a price and I negotiate a lower price, the rest of the world would describe that as the store reducing its mark-up. In this alternate universe, the construction company has "donated" $10,000 to the project. That has to be the most blatant spin-job I've ever seen.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

Soothslayer - Better explain to our young skateboarders that a Bentley is a luxury car costing $200,000 and that oil changes usually cost less than $100.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:33 p.m.

Also $10k is not even 1% of the project. Wow great, we just got a new Bentley with 2 years free oil changes as a "gift".


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:09 p.m.

It cracks me up that all of you are so against building a facility that "only a few young people will use" (ignoring, of course, the fact that adults can & will utilize this as well), yet on this website at any given time, the comments are constantly bemoaning the uptick in graffiti "artists", or the home break-ins by bored juveniles, or kids' obesity rate skyrocketing. Gee, you think maybe making a place for them to hang out, exercise & enjoy themselves might keep some of them from being little miscreants? Would you rather they skateboard in the streets or sidewalks, or the bike paths, or off various building fixtures? Seems you all want to have your cake and eat it too.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:27 p.m.

The overweight kids aren't going to want to be putting inline skates on or skateboarding, they'll be at home playing vidya games. This won't change that. Also are you insinuating that the same kids that are troublemakers are the ones that would now be miraculously occupied by this skate park? Way to enforce that "skater punk" stereotype everyone already thinks is true.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:16 p.m.

I'm sure this will be defaced with spray paint before construction is completed.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:44 p.m.

will there be bike lanes in the park?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:24 p.m.

When? When does construction start and when will it be open?

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:50 p.m.

Why do taxpayer funds support the golf courses and pools in a2? The golf courses lost $2.2M over 5 years. You can't complain about a skate park and ignore those elephants. Though the skate park was *not* supposed to be funded by a2 taxpayers.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

Not to mention how bad golf courses are for the environment. Excessive irrigation, pesticide runoff, deforestation, wildlife habitat loss, the list goes on and on.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

>*not* supposed to be funded by a2 taxpayers BINGO!! Guess who's also going to be footing the maintenance, liability insurance and repair bill forever? What about the additional cops that will be needed to patrol this area to ensure the safety of the target age group from predators?...


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 3:05 p.m.

Huron Hills is a horrible golf course. The worst front nine in the whole wide world. Pat's Par Three was a better destination. Huron Hills should be a mountain bike track with sledding in the winter.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Why can't the out of towners pay for their golf and cover the costs? If the golf is such a big business draw, why can't the need be filled by private businesses? Why aren't the golf courses operated under the 0 public funds rule? Taxpayers spening millions to fund the operational costs of multiple golf courses is absurd. A park for kids is a different matter.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

High-class golf courses, such as Huron Hills and Leslie, will be used by conventioneers and other visitors to Ann Arbor, as well as local residents, more than the skate park. The operative deficits related to the golf courses have been markedly reduced lately and each golf course may be self-sustaining in the near future.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.



Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

Chip Reed, and I am sure other readers, question my estimate for the limited use of the skate park after it is built. My usage figure is really based on the following comment from the Ann Arbor Skate Park website itself which states "Skateboarding is a healthy, non-competitive sport that 5% of all Ann Arbor children aged 13-17 participate in..." I am gratified that Soothslayer, who comments elsewhere, observes the same drawbacks that I do. Another concern of mine is that the skate park will add to truancy since it will draw students away from schooling since the park will not have supervisors who can keep school-age skateboarders from using the facility during school hours. Also I know that taxpayers did not approve water and park millages so that their money can be used to construct a skate park. High tax rates in Ann Arbor do stress some home owners, especially as our economy is just exiting a recession. The money being removed from funds to support skateboarders can be put to better use.

Chip Reed

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 7:03 p.m.

I continue to question your estimate of usage. When the AASP website refers to 5% of children aged 13-17, the are not suggesting that the aforementioned children will be the ONLY (please excuse caps) ones to use the facility.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:21 p.m.

Spot on V. I too was going to add in the distraction aspect to the woefully inadequate, and increasingly underfunded, AAPS system but felt I should relinquish the soap box to give others a chance. I'm sure parents living vicariously through their children have delusions of hundreds of future Tony Hawk's coming out of this. It doesn't work that way. Its about funding and setting priority on the educational and recreational programs we're ALREADY funding and how those projects and activities complement or distract from the overall objectives. Globally we're falling farther and faster behind each year in education, I don't see how this project helps that for the target age group. Good luck with the Tony Hawk thing though, I'm sure that will work out.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

The park will cause local skateboarding to explode.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:51 p.m.

At other city skateparks, I see a large number of young kids who are 5-10 years old.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

In other Michigan cities, skateparks are *very* actively used. Even in sweltering hot weather. The suggestion this won't get used is absurd.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

I support the project. However, if it was 40% or 50% over the original budget, then it should have been made smaller. Making up that shortfall with taxpayer funds is not a valid alternative. This is a very elaborate and large park. It is much larger than it needs to be. This park should have been built smaller in phase 1, and then enlarged in phase 2 if there was demand.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

I'm very displeased to see public money spent on this, considering a few years ago the city sent travel baseball teams - consisting of Ann Arbor citizen's kids - away when they raised the field rental fees up to the point where none of them could afford it.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:40 p.m.

"replacing rebar with structural fibers" Oh. So does that mean the surface smoothness will degrade and fail sooner? Shoul the scope of the project been reduced so the concrete could be done right?

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:41 p.m.

I'm sure the kids will understand that their skate park fell apart quicker because it's "green."

Sam S Smith

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

I have nothing against skateboarding however if this is such a great idea why didn't a private company start this up? Does the city have that much surplus from our high taxes to spend on things like this? What is the liability plan for this? If in the event someone becomes brain injured or breaks the neck from a fall in this park (God forbid!) how much will the city have to pay for this person's care? Or are the skateboarders going to sign a release before using the park? Are staff going to be trained in first aid?

Sam S Smith

Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

lurkypsi, thank you for answering my questions in a helpful manner. Like I said before, I have nothing against skateboarding.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

Excepting that there are staff and lifeguards at the swimming pools. Somehow the City got duped into a "look the other way" approach with this project. Just wait till some unsuspecting soccer mom takes Jimmy to Play it Again to get some inline skates and drops him off to play at the park unsupervised. 1) hes a minor so can't enter into an agreement passively or not and 2) mom wasn't aware of the risks involved (tl;dr as she dropped Jimmy off while she slowed down). Litigators rejoice, the City has great insurance (until it gets cancelled)!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

What staff? But do not worry about available first aid as EMS can be expected to park a vehicle by the skate park shortly after it opens.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

This has been addressed so many time throughout this process. The park will be unsupervised and skate at your own risk. By participating in activities at places like this or at city hockey rinks, pools, or baseball fields you assume all liability. You can be Injured or even killed doing plenty of things at city parks. Dive headfirst into the shallow end at the pool or catch a line drive in the face at baseball game with your friends? How about falling off a jungle gym and breaking your arm or neck? So holding he city liable because of you inability to skate within your means is out of the question.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

You could say the same thing about the swimming pools the city owns and operates. Or the golf courses.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

The school district has 5 empty pools, and then we go and build 4 that won't be filled with water. Nice!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

TTC by Jove you've nailed it, I had a big laugh out loud for that one. Thank you kind sir/madam for your spot on caustic wit and observation. +1 to you


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:49 p.m.

You guys are free to figure out how the city gets those funds to the schools! Start a campaign to put water in the pools.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:08 p.m.

Good point. How many years could AA pools be maintained with a million bucks?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:07 a.m.

How many potholes could be filled with a million dollars?

Bob Zuruncol

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:14 p.m.

I hate the pot holes, too, but they aren't ging to be filled with Parks & Rec money.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:47 p.m.

If the potholes were filled people would just drive faster. They are free speedbumps.

Sam S Smith

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:23 p.m.

Dear Kevin, the potholes in Ann Arbor will be allowed to decay so that the roads will demolish themselves. Who needs the roads anyway with choo choos and bike lanes we're all going to have to use someday?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:06 a.m.

Will there be lighting? Fencing? This will be a very popular spot for a wide ranging group of residents, but 5000k a year maintenance just ain't gonna get it in the long run.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:09 p.m.

Oops! That's 5k of course.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:50 a.m.

If you build it, they won't come. This is a terrible idea and is a detriment and liability to the community. When education and other municipal services are severely underfunded what a blatant waste of precious resources in an ever declining tax base. People were upset by the Art Fund, what about $1M for a personal injury showpiece that can only be used maybe 6 months out of the year? $5k a year covers ALL annual maintenance over the first 5 years, 10 years? The facility decay will be accelerated by the frequent frost, freeze, thaw cycles we experience. How much will the City insurance go up annually by their involvement in building and operating such a facility? For a recent example of shortsightedness see $500k City lamp post "rusting from the inside" replacement debacle only 6 years after the new LED globes (at substantial expense) were retrofitted. No one looked to see if they were rusting before installing the LED globes? They rusted all this way in only 6 years? No. No one paid attention and yet another "oopsie" at the taxpayer expense. Enjoy your out of market reach City liability magnet utilized by only a scant few, but noisy, supporters. My prediction: this park will be fenced off or filled in with dirt within 10 years. Is $100k+ a year worth a few hundred people (maybe) to have 6 months of high risk outdoor activity? Is this a typical priority addition to mid-west towns suffering substantial financial shortfalls? What would make Ann Arbor "cool" is to keep all of its budgets in check and services fully staffed.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.



Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:45 a.m.

I thought this was a cool project, but had no idea so much of the money was coming from the city. This is a lot of money to spend to buid something new when a lot of parks aren't being mowed and all of our medians are weedy and overgrown and curbs cracking and crumbling. I sure do wish someone in charge wanted to get things in order before adding new (expensive) projects. Is the city charging itself for the stormwater runoff from all this concrete?

Steve Hendel

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:33 a.m.

How long before the City is backed into a corner and has to 'exercise that right' as well?

Steve Hendel

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:29 a.m.

"The original memorandum of intent between the city and the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark stated that capital construction costs were the sole responsibility of the nonprofit group. However, the city always retained the right to contribute to the costs at its discretion, and the city is now exercising that right." "Exercising that right"? When I drop a few coins into the Salvation Army kettle at Xmas, would you say I am exercising my right to do so ? The whole concept of the skatepark was sold by it's suporters to the Council on the basis that no City funds would be required, in the form of either capital or operating costs; now, at the last minute, when construction bids have been taken and timelines established, we hear "Oops, we were over $400,000 short." That's just the capital costs; as for operating costs, the skatepark advocates pledge to cover them (just as they promised for the capital costs), but of course the City 'reserves the right' to fork over for that as well.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:59 p.m.

I share your view and our skepticism could not be better phrased then your "This is going to be a failure of epic, and very costly, proportions." Kudos!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:38 a.m.

Steve it's all about pork and special interests. "Friends of City Council" is a better name for their organization. This is going to be a failure of epic, and very costly, proportions.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:14 a.m.

Other parks go without maintenance while we waste money on a facility that will be used by just a few people.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

It happens I see the use Vets get, I pass by about 5 times a day. I am for the skate park.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

jcj - Those parks get heavy use during good weather. And, remember, the money that the city government will use to build the skate park is not coming out of money that would be used on other parks.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:45 p.m.

How many use these "other parks" ? Not Many! This will mean there is less grass to let grow to knee high. The ball diamonds around town sit empty for months.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 6:50 a.m.

Why? $80k from storm water? Why?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:51 p.m.

And cementing up this particular land is how to effectively control the other areas with flooding issues? Wut.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:05 p.m.

Storm sewer maintenance and replacement and rain water retention gardens are examples of how storm water funds are spent. Ever experience flooding in Ann Arbor? With climate change precipitation increasing some of your neighbors want the Ann Arbor government to deal with it.

Kai Petainen

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:03 a.m.

awesome stuff. glad to see this passed and it'll be made. good stuff!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:35 a.m.

Ann Arbor residents should have concerns regarding the building of a skateboard park. First, the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skate Park is a small but ardent group of enthusiasts. However, the number of youth who will actually wish to use a skateboard park is uncertain but can be estimated at 500 or less. And most of those who skateboard are between 10 and 18 years of age, without car transportation to a park that will be otherwise too distant to use regularly. Certainly spending $1 million to construct a skateboard park is not warranted if the facility is sparsely used. More worrisome is the probability of serious injuries which will be facilitated by the skateboard park's design. Concrete and steel are the main components to be used in building the skateboard park. These materials are not resilient and will increase risks of serious head and neck injuries as well as fractures. Several raised concrete dividers pictured in the skateboard park's schematics will encourage skaters to attempt jumping over them and gliding along the top surfaces which increase risks of injuries. The ramps will direct skateboarders at each other resulting in high speed collisions which will be harmful. The City is retaining ownership of the property upon which the skateboard park is to be built. Since the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark is not incorporated it can not be responsible for running the facility; the City will be held liable for culpable injuries incurred by park users. Liability insurance covering skateboard park may not be available without a fence and supervision. Even with liability insurance the City risks financial loss from a sizable injury judgement. Furthermore, how can City Council justify paying for a skate park by siphoning money from unrelated city funds as if the funds do not need the money?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:41 p.m.

Soothslayer Excuse me but for the residents of the west side this is no more "an obscure corner of the city" than Burns Park, S.University, or Kerrytown! You don't have a clue about the age group that will use this! Local creepers?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:12 p.m.

The skateboarders will come. They have already heavily damaged nearby schools (Abbot El) with no repercussions. There are a lot of kids in walking distance of Vets. Hoping if they have a place to go they will leave other places alone.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

There are porta-johns, at least during baseball/softball season

Chip Reed

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:07 p.m.

Vet's Park doesn't have rest rooms? Where do the ballplayers go?


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 11:36 a.m.

Proof positive that this is a bad idea at best. The bulk of college students are GONE over the Spring & Summer which is the majority of time this facility could be used and even if they were here would they make the half hour bus journey to this obscure corner of the City which has no other supporting businesses or facilities (rest rooms?). EMS will probably relocate one of their staging areas to the nearby K-Mart parking lot which will be good for the injury side. Is there going to be 24x7 staffed surveillance at this place to monitor the local creepers that most certainly will flock here and hang out among the youngsters? Why would "Friends of Skate park" care, its not the majority of their resources at stake now or in the (most certainly unfunded) future. "In the mid 60's"... yep, that's when it was at its peak along with Yo-Yo's, hula hoops, Jarts and other historic activities.

Chip Reed

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 10:33 a.m.

For goodness sakes, I have concerns regarding your "veracity" (truthfulness). How are you able to "estimate" how many people will wish to use this facility? I see college students riding skateboards everyday, and I "estimate" that most are over the age of eighteen. Anywhere you go, very modest communities with limited resources have seen the wisdom of providing a place for this activity. For the record, in the mid-60's we would careen down nearby Doty, Wesley, and Linda Vista sidewalks and out into traffic on Arborview. If only we had this then...


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:39 a.m.

Ryan, Have there been estimates of annual maintenance costs?


Wed, Jul 17, 2013 : 2:32 p.m.

Thanks, Ryan. I know nothing of skatepark maintenance but this value seems fairly optimistic. Do we know how this figure was derived and what is the expected lifespan of the construction before needing major repairs assuming normal use in our particular climate? I have read through the contract language and understand that the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark are assuming the maintenance costs, but my assumption is the City will likely take on the bigger repairs.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:56 a.m.

$5,000? Is that going to pay for someone to sweep the trash and broken glass shards off the surface? How often? Once weekly? Oh, that's right! The highly responsible park users will bring their own brooms and dust pans. I hope a trash can is close by. And what happens when the concrete surface becomes pitted, preventing smooth skateboarding? How much will resurfacing cost?

Ryan J. Stanton

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:55 a.m.

$5,000 was the figure being used by the city's parks staff and the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark earlier this year. I haven't heard that it's changed.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:21 a.m.

I welcome this. But I can't seem to figure out where it will go and how it will fit? I've heard it will be at the NW corner of Vets, where the huge trees are, but that no trees will be removed. But when I look at that space, it does not look very big at all. And if you squeeze it in right up to the trees, won't that kill the root systems anyway, and also have to deal with autumnal leaves all over the skate surfaces? Someone help me out with this?

5c0++ H4d13y

Fri, Jul 19, 2013 : 10:39 p.m.

Plenty of room


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 1:57 p.m.

Thanks, I'll look more closely next time I'm there. Driving by, I couldn't figure it out.

Usual Suspect

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 12:32 p.m.

The area between the big trees, the outfield fence of the baseball field, and the west parking lot.

Nicholas Urfe

Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 2:18 a.m.

This is gonna be epic and gnarly! I am totally stoked!


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 5:45 p.m.

No insurance required dude, the City's got me covered. Just relax and catch a bodacious wave of concrete as it approaches the body at 20 mph. Unsupervised... I bet this place reeks of weed 24x7.


Tue, Jul 16, 2013 : 4:39 a.m.

Well, Nicholas Urfe, if you are looking forward to using the skate park I hope that you wear a helmet and pads and have a good health insurance policy.