Pipe dream? Volunteers working to make Hanover skatepark a reality
Shane Vrankin, a lifelong skateboarder and the owner of Atlantic Skateboard Company, is pushing for a proposal to have a skate park built in Hanover Borough.
For the past several years, support for a proposal to build a public skatepark in Hanover has ramped up significantly. Now, a local nonprofit is stepping up to help give the project its final push.
Citadel Skateboarding Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Westminster, officially launched the Hanover Skatepark Project, or HSP, in September. The foundation’s goal is to help in the effort to build a skatepark in Hanover Borough through the raising of funds, while also working to educate the public and petition local officials.
Citadel began back in 2018 with co-founders Tila Assgari and Matthew Freyer. Together, the two have volunteered their time and efforts and have already been successful in advocating for the remodeling of a wooden skatepark in Manchester, Maryland. They set their eyes on expanding northward into southcentral Pennsylvania earlier this year.
“Our mission is community engagement and mentorship through skateboarding,” Assgari said in a recent phone interview.
“And so we have programs that are geared toward getting kids to be able to try new skateparks and we also assist local residents in approaching their municipalities (who are) hoping to establish skateparks in areas that don’t have skateparks.”
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In addition to organizing skate trips for youth, the foundation was also putting together a summer skate camp before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
For the Manchester project, Assgari was able to put her background in interdisciplinary sculpture, with a focus on material manipulation and digital fabrication, to work by helping with the design and remodeling process. Freyer brings a background in artistry, business and marketing and plenty of years of skateboarding.
Lifelong skateboarder Shane Vrankin started officially gathering support for a proposal to build a skatepark in Hanover Borough in early 2018. (Photo: Dan Rainville, The Evening Sun)
Also heavily involved in the effort is Shane Vrankin, the owner of Atlantic Skateboard Company. Vrankin started his own push for a Hanover skatepark in early 2018, amassing a petition with over 1,000 signatures. He also focused on educating residents and local officials on the benefits of having a skatepark, including the positive economic impacts and the safety it provides for skaters. That same year, Vrankin became involved with the Manchester project and got to know Assgari and Freyer. He said he is excited to now be working with Citadel and called them a “crucial piece” to the puzzle.
As in 2018, funding continues to be one of the key barriers for the entire project. But, as Vrankin now notes, just one of the benefits of having a registered nonprofit like Citadel involved is that they can legally hold the funds that are raised for the project.
And the foundation has already held their first successful fundraiser with the help of Blue Bird Tattoo Studio on Baltimore Street. On Oct. 3, owner Missi Blue and two fellow tattoo artists volunteered their time (and tips) for over 12 hours straight during a $60 flash sale that featured dozens of designs, many of them incorporating a skating theme. In addition, Missi reached out to local businesses and was able to put together five raffle baskets.
All their efforts resulted in $10,120 being raised for the Hanover Skatepark Project.
“To have that many people come out to support this cause, and to raise over $10k during the very first fundraiser, tells you how much the greater Hanover area wants and needs a skatepark,” Vrankin said.
A second fundraiser at Magic Elm Skateland has already been scheduled for Nov. 5.
Assgari said they estimated a concrete skatepark in Hanover would be between 10 to 15,000 square feet large, which would come at a cost of at least $200,000. Liability insurance is also a factor that will have to be accounted for as well.
In September, Hanover Borough council announced they had been awarded a $40,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The grant was awarded to develop a Comprehensive Recreation, Park, and Open Space Plan in the Borough that will explore adding new recreation sites including a skatepark and a lacrosse field.
A request for proposals has already been sent out to engineering firms and the Borough expects to accept a proposal later this year, with work beginning in 2021.
Adjacent to the Hanover project, Assgari said a group of over 100 Littlestown residents has formed online and many have been attending borough council meetings in an effort to petition for the construction of a smaller “skate spot” in town.
“We really believe that every town needs a skatepark and that they’re extremely beneficial to the community overall.”
IF YOU GO
What: Fundraiser for Hanover Skatepark Project
When: Thursday, November 5, 2020 from 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Where: Magic Elm Skateland, 625 W Elm Ave., Hanover
Cost: $7 for adults and $4 for children. All proceeds benefit the HSP
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