PORTSMOUTH — A city project in the works since 2014 could see ground break in a few months after the final design and construction documents of the Portsmouth Skatepark were submitted to the Army Civil Corps of Engineers.
1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne discussed the matter during the Jan. 25 City Council meeting, where the contracted Spohn Ranch is still scheduled to begin work in late March. If approved, the estimated construction time for the park is six to eight weeks.
“This has been a long journey and I’m very much looking forward to getting that project off the ground and started,” he said during his 1st Ward report Monday evening.
Approaching seven years in the making, Dunne said that strong local participation kept it going in a Tuesday interview. The resulting work would be the largest skatepark in the area.
“This is the work of a lot of individuals here in Portsmouth,” he said, denoting the group’s hours spent with varying fundraisers, coordinating the design and actively seeking grants.
Having an active social media presence, the project’s emblem was done by Grammy-winning artist Don Pendleton after Brian Smith reached out to him. The symbol is present on t-shirts and stickers that have made their way outside the tri-state and into New York City, Ireland and Germany.
Over the course of that journey, the project has raised over $340,000 through fundraisers like concerts and grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Dunne started work on this before being on council, where he and a fellow Shawnee State University sociology professor Sara Hunt developed plans and addressed the city in 2014. Council sensed there would be too many obstacles with it, which he said was ultimately among the reasons for him seeking public office.
One of his primary goals when he ran for City Council in 2017, he hopes that voters in 2021 will see this project as him sticking to his agenda as a candidate. Dunne and 5th Ward Councilman Edwin Martell will be seeking reelection this year, while Mayor Kevin Johnson will not.
“Often when people see the word “agenda” in politics, they think negatively,” he said, the petition filing deadline set for Feb. 3. “I encourage people to think differently about that because it’s nice to know what a person’s agenda would be running for office.”
The skatepark will be located near the local of the former Weghorst Park off 4th Street. Near the location of the levy, Dunne said the Civil Corps would need to make sure it does not interfere with its security.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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