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Group hopes to turn empty lot into private skate park

by on October 04, 2018 11:44 AM

STATE COLLEGE — A group of private investors is looking to turning an abandoned piece of land into a skate park on College Avenue in Ferguson Township. The land used to be part of Sheesley Construction at 1316 W. College Ave., and a group of skateboarders has been using the lot as a makeshift skate park with the approval of the current landowner. They hope to turn it into a legitimate outdoor private skate park to practice their sport.

“Obviously, an old foundation with concrete covered in dirt doesn’t do anyone any good, but after cleaning it, making an agreement with the land owner and essentially starting to develop a small community here ...” said Jake Johnson, a local skateboarder who is nationally known and part of the team looking to get approval for the skate park at the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors meeting Oct. 2.

“What I would like to compare this to is more of a community garden for skateboarders,” said Johnson. He said the plan is to use private funding to build and maintain the skate park within the existing foundation at the former Sheesley Concrete Plant and make it an open area for a do-it-yourself skateboard park. He said the group will continue to plan what it will look like as they move forward. The plan would include multiple lots owned by West View Commons LLC.

It would not be an open park, but a private area managed by the group.

Johnson said he hopes this would be a good place for a start for the skateboarding community to provide a spring board to help “cultivate our community” in an effort to grow in the area.

The plan was referred to the planning commission, with plans for a public hearing Monday, Nov. 5. A current hang-up is the zoning ordinance that does not allow private recreation on the property. The question is whether the area is to be considered a private recreational area, since it is will be an outdoor area that is not charging people to use it.

Across the street, Central County Mixed Martial Arts is in the same zoning and was given conditional use approval as private recreational business. The skate park looks to get the same, unless the zoning ordinance is changed.

“It means a lot to us. ... There are a lot of different people and a lot of different ways that we can really create something beautiful here,” said Johnson.

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