Things may seem quiet, but the Roc City Skatepark is still moving forward!
We are currently working towards becoming a stand alone Not-For-Profit organization by securing official 501c3 status. In the past, we were working under what is a called a fudiciuary agent or fiscal sponsor. In other words, another Not-For-Profit took us under their wings to help us raise funds and structure our board to be more efficient. However, after many discussions with potential donors and skatepark organizations, it makes more sense to operate independently, allowing us to more actively seek relevant grant opportunities and donations.
As some know, a big hold up has been securing an actual home to build the park. We have been pushing to build under the The Fredrick Douglas/ Susan B Anthony bridge (aka 490 Bridge) between Time Warner office and Dinosaur B-B-Q. Over the years, we have explored other locations, sometimes as suggested by our partners, other times of our own intent. We have encountered pushback on some of those locations due to others’ preconceived notions, bad match with the offered location, or the City’s plan for an intended parcel of land. Ultimately , our goal is to have the park be centralized in downtown so that EVERYONE can feel welcome and that the park will benefit local businesses.
After a few of these sidetracks in our efforts, we have come back to focus our efforts on the land under the bridge. However, this location still poses some big challenges, but ones that we feel are worth the effort. This requires coordinating with future neighbors, the Rochester city government, the New York State Department of Transportation (D.O.T.) and the Federal Highway Department. Each of these agencies comes with their own requirements.
All of these hoops can be jumped through, but they take time and considerable effort. Eventually, of course, it is going to take money. For a sense of scale, that means hundreds of thousands of dollars before we can even break ground. A properly vetted skatepark building plan costs $50,000 to $100,000 dollars. The site also requires soil studies and other expenses we simply cannot get around. No matter what size park we build, there will be substantial preparation costs.
Some of you are wondering where all the money we raised and received in the past has gone. It has all gone to furthering this project. The conceptual design and study we did cost us $50,000 to hire local architectural/engineering firm Stantec to create. This price may seem like a lot, but this was a very low figure for the plans that were created). All other funds have gone to things like supplies and promotional materials to getting understanding/awareness of the skatepark effort out to the public through events, outreach, etc. Promotional items we created to raise awareness like T-shirts and signs cost money. And we cannot forget certain basics like office supplies still come with a price. We have created a document that you can download to get an idea of what we have done and how things have broken out at the following link:
Our board is 100% volunteer. Nobody takes a salary, and no money has ever gone missing. Our fundraisers unfortunately only raise a small amount of money that we channel back into our efforts. Ultimately, no matter if we build a small park or a giant football-field-sized park, this effort would still cost more money to create than one would imagine. Believe us, we’ve learned this fact firsthand.
We are aiming for a world-class, high quality large park because Rochester deserves a facility that will be fun for participants of all ages and skill levels and bring pride to the community for many years to come. We will probably only get the chance to build this park once. I feel that we need to do it right the first time, or we will all suffer in the future. This is a park for all the progression-sports enthusiasts to enjoy from the Greater Rochester area and beyond. That covers a lot of people. Imagine playing football, baseball, field hockey and soccer on one parcel of land all at once. It would be dangerous and very unpleasant for all. This one park will be a home for BMX, skateboarding, rollerblading, scootering, roller skating and more, so we want to make sure that we can accommodate as many people as possible.
We also cannot forget that all of the aforementioned activities (except roller skating after 6pm) are banned in downtown Rochester. Once we have a park, the police and security guards will be cracking down tenfold of what we currently experience. Long term, do you want to all be forced onto a tennis-court sized park with poorly designed ramps, or into a beautiful, awe-inspiring park that provides challenges for all these athletic pursuits and the diverse opinions on what is fun to ride?
I totally feel everyone's frustrations. Everyone on our board shares your frustrations! I also just want this park built now, and at first I didn't understand fully what it takes to achieve this goal,(timewise, effort, and cost) ,but I have learned a lot in this process and honestly feel if we stay positive and keep plugging away, this park WILL happen.
Feel free to ask me any questions and deliver comments, constructive criticism, and suggestions my direction. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support!
Friends of the RocCity Skatekatepark