Houghton skate park designers hold workshop

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette A design precedent shown as a possibility for the Houghton skate park is seen onscreen during a design workshop in Houghton Tuesday.

HOUGHTON — A new skate park could be underway in Houghton this summer.

Some of those features will spring from what local skateboarders had to say at a design workshop held Tuesday night in Houghton.

Charlie Wilkins, a designer from the Los Angeles-based skate park design firm Spohn Ranch Skatepark, met with skaters and showed them potential options for the park.

Organizers for the skatepark raised more than $50,000 last year, triggering a $50,000 matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. The city hired Spohn Ranch in October to design the park.

“I know what I like to skate, but I want to design something that the kids of Houghton want to skate,” he said. “I want to fulfill their needs in the best way possible, and stretch their dollars, and really get a good sense of not only what the skaters want to see in the park, but the community members, too.”

Wilkins said Houghton’s skaters and council members have both been knowledgeable about the process. The budget and limits of the East Houghton Park site, including a high water table, have put in constraints.

“That being said, there’s obviously a zillion things you can do,” he said. “With skateboard parks you can do anything you want, which is great.”

Plans may change, depending on the final budget. That plan will then undergo another round of reviews from the community.

“We’re trying to get this done this summer, or at the very latest, this fall, and trying to get some skate time for everybody,” Wilkins said.

TOMORROW: How local skaters can provide input to the park’s design and their comments at Tuesday’s workshop.