Monday, May 5, 2003

Skateboards find Fairfield niche

Park shared with Hamilton to be ready by midsummer

By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD - Just in time for summer weather, a new skateboard park is under construction and money has been approved for a new walking and biking path for this growing Butler County community.

The skateboard park will be shared by Fairfield and neighboring city Hamilton and should be complete by mid-summer. The city of Fairfield and the Hamilton Community Foundation are paying for the $202,894 project, and the City of Hamilton donated 10 acres.

The park will offer street features and all the other components skaters desire, said Jim Bell, Fairfield's parks and recreation director.

"We had a series of meetings with local skaters and let them help design the park," Bell said. "We thought it was best to get the skaters involved. We could do all the research in the world and then maybe build something the skaters in the area didn't want."

The 10,000-square-foot park is on the south side of Forest Lake Lane, west of Nuxhall's driving range and east of the entrance gate to Joyce Park in south Hamilton.

Demand for skateboard parks is high, and cities that build them quickly realize they are one of the most used facilities they have, even in the winter, industry experts say.

Tristate interest in public skate parks has been fueled in the past few years by aggressive lobbying by skaters and their parents. In Fairfield, skaters have been seen careening outside strip shopping centers and the Lane Public Library in Village Green, the new downtown, because there has been no place else to go.

The new park is being built by Suburban Rails, an Athens-based design company.

Meanwhile, Fairfield City Council recently approved spending $159,000 for a new biking and walking path.

The Pleasant Run pathway will run about a quarter of a mile from the Fairfield YMCA off Nilles Road to the historical cemetery Symmes Burial Grounds along the Pleasant Run Creek, Bell said.

It is the first phase of a path that would eventually create a loop around the creek that would run to Broadview Drive.

Construction is likely to begin this summer, and the path should be complete by late fall.

A second, $310,000 path is proposed, in the residential part of Village Green, to run along a hillside behind the homes from Chablis Court to Meadow Court, Bell said. The path also would link to the business section of Village Green.


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