Community forum to discuss new skate park in Colgate Park

Photo by Chris Sykes
Orange Township Recreation Department Supervisor Keith Pressey stands next to the Green Acres sign posted on the fence surrounding Colgate Park on North Day Street on Wednesday, March 20, where a new skate park is under construction. A public discussion about the second phase of the skate park project was scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 3, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers.

ORANGE, NJ — The Orange Recreation Department is currently building a new skate park at Colgate Park on North Day Street in the city’s North Ward, to increase the variety of recreational opportunities for young people and expand and enhance existing park facilities.

According to Recreation Department Supervisor Keith Pressey and at large Councilwoman Donna K. Williams, a public hearing on the new skate park was scheduled in Council Chambers on Wednesday, April 3, to discuss Phase 2 of the skate park construction project, which is being funded by a grant from the New Jersey Green Acres fund, administered through Essex County, with the support and approval from Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo Jr.

“The skate park is an extension of Colgate Park,” said Pressey on Wednesday, March 20. “What we’re doing is bringing a skate park to the community, another new and exciting activity for the community.”

Pressey said the skate park won’t be completed in time for city youth to take advantage of it this year, but will soon be open and available for use, and he said the community discussion about the project on Wednesday, April 3, would be important.

“We’re almost there and we want to hear input,” said Pressey. “Right now, we see an uptick in the number of kids that are interested in skateboarding and we’re responding to it. We need more skateboard parks in our communities. This is our first and we’re sure that it will be filled to capacity when it is completed.”

Williams said the new skate park and other recent improvements to Orange’s city parks are proof of the saying: “If you build it, they will come,” popularized by the movie “Field of Dreams”

“I know that Tony Hawk and the Tony Hawk Foundation have grants to create opportunities for skateboard parks in communities that do not have them,” said Williams on Wednesday, March 20. “So we’re helping the Tony Hawk Foundation fulfill one of its goals and missions and they should come on down to see what they’re inspiring us to do.”

Orange Business Administrator Chris Hartwyk agreed with Williams and Pressey that the new skate park will be good for the city and community, especially children and teens.

“I think that the skate park represents a great opportunity to expand the recreational opportunities to the community. I really do,” said Hartwyk on Wednesday, March 20. “The kids like skating. I’m hopeful that the community is receptive to it. ”

“Sports are only ‘nontraditional’ because we label it that,” Pressey said. “These are sports that are being played throughout the country and other communities and we’re just starting to introduce our kids to it and our community to it.”