Skate city: Syracuse to construct park in Eastwood neighborhood

Micah Benson | Art Director

A skate plaza is expected to open on Woodbine Avenue in the Eastwood neighborhood of Syracuse next year, said Judy Lewis, director of the Eastwood Skatepark Initiative.

The project has been in the works for several years, but is only now beginning to become a reality due to city and state funding, Lewis said.

Syracuse city officials began considering opening skate facilities in each of the city’s sections about eight years ago, she said.

“Our committee picked up on the city’s idea and we began pushing for it more than they were,” Lewis said.

Skate facilities would benefit the community because skateboarders tend to skate where skating is not permitted or is unwelcomed, she said.

The Eastwood Neighborhood Association started the Eastwood Skatepark Initiative.

The association applied for state funding three different times before finally becoming successful, she said.

“We tried to get funding through other fundraising techniques but we came to find that in order to get the big money, we needed state funding,” Lewis said.

The project will receive $85,000 worth of funding from the city and $150,000 in state funding. The project has received money from the Tony Hawk Foundation as well as from the Eastwood Neighborhood Association.

Lewis said the park’s design was commissioned this summer through the collaborative efforts of Pillar Design Studios and Appel Osborne Landscape Architecture of Syracuse. Pillar Design Studios also worked on the design for the Oswego Skatepark.

“We had met with skaters and came up with a list of elements that they wanted in the park, and came back with a design that was approved in late September,” Lewis said.

The project is now gathering bids for construction, she said. The state requires the project’s construction contracts to be signed by Dec. 31. Lewis said the state date for when construction will begin depends heavily on this year’s winter weather, because it cannot begin when the ground is frozen.

Lewis projects that the construction will take four to six weeks.

The project’s critics have been one of the biggest challenges for the project, Lewis said.

“There’s always going to be those naysayers who don’t understand the culture of skateboarders,” she said.

Lewis said she is trying to get the community to get past the common misconceptions that are associated with skateboarders.

“They often get a bad rep,” she said. “People think they’re druggies, but they’re the opposite. Skateboarders are very artistic and they’re the gentler type — they’re not the football players.”

While Syracuse University students are welcome to visit the new facility, Lewis said she does not think the facility will attract a lot of SU students, as there is a skating facility closer to campus on the intersection of East Washington Street and Walnut Avenue.

Nevertheless, Dominic Twine, a senior accounting major, thinks the new facility will attract some SU students looking for an escape from their studies.

Said Twine: “I think it could be a creative outlet for students to relieve stress after a long day of classes.”



Top Stories