Aerial view of planned McIntire Skate Park Credit: Credit: Stantec

Charlottesville on Monday issued a request for bids to build the proposed concrete skate park at McIntire Park. The request comes after city staff members were able to cut down the project’s original $1.7 million price tag, said city recreation manager Vic Garber.

City Council in the spring devoted $1.5 million in capital funding to the project after deciding to direct $200,000 originally earmarked for the skate park to the Charlottesville High School track.

Working with Stantec, the California firm that designed the park, city staff members were able to find some savings in the original cost estimate and determined that putting the project to bid in the winter would draw favorable bids.

Garber said Wednesday that he thinks that the skate park can be completed with money already allocated to the project.

“We have been looking for efficiencies and ways to get the best bang for the buck and achieve the highest quality, and we think the timing is right [to seek bids],” Garber said. “We looked at the project and think we can get the right bid.”

The city expects to receive bids by late January and have construction begin in March. The project is expected to take nine months, Garber said.

In addition to the $1.5 million in funding from the city, Parks & Recreation last year received $25,000 for the project from the Tony Hawk Foundation, and it is working to secure a $100,000 matching grant from the Dave Matthews Band’s BamaWorks Fund.

The parks department is actively working on raising money for the matching grant, Garber said, and is in talks with at least two different companies to secure the funding.

Local skateboarders and city officials said the completed park will be among the top such facilities on the East Coast.

“The excitement in the skate community is really, really high because of the design,” said Duane Brown, chairman of the advisory board that oversaw the design of the new park. “It will be the best skate park in Virginia, and one of the nicer skate parks on the East Coast.”

The park, which will allow BMX bicycles and skate boards, will boast an area of features designed to mimic obstacles skateboarders would find in an urban environment, as well as a series of “bowls” designed to mimic swimming pools.

“The old skate park, when it was next to the rescue squad, was one of the most-used park facilities in the city at one point,” Brown said. “It got pretty crowded at times, so I am pretty stoked to have a park with different areas and different components. … It won’t be as congested feeling because of that.”

The city opened the original wooden skate park in 2000 at the intersection of McIntire Road and the U.S. 250 Bypass on two disused tennis courts. That facility was moved to make way for construction of the John W. Warner Parkway.

“The whole skating community is really excited about the whole thing,” Brown said. “The motto has always been, ‘A world-class skate park for a world-class city,’ and now that it looks like it’s going to happen, we are all pretty stoked.”