skateboarding woman legs at skatepark

The Anthem Skatepark renovation and expansion project is one step closer to fruition, as the final design and associated costs of around $1.3 million have been approved.

Skateboarders, scooter riders, BMX bikers and roller-skaters will soon have new and improved elements to practice and master their skills, as the expanded and renovated skatepark will include a street skating plaza, pump track as well as construction and maintenance improvements to its existing skatepark. 

The final design and the associated overall cost of $1,333,531 for these new feats and operational improvements were unanimously approved by the Anthem Community Council Board of Directors during a March 24 meeting.

“It’s going to be a great skatepark when it’s all done,” said Terry Mullarkey, executive director of Anthem Community Council (ACC).

Construction is expected to be complete between December and February, depending on how long it takes to secure Maricopa County permitting, Mullarkey said.

The board approved MayDall Construction & Pillar Design Studios to build and design the elements of the skatepark expansion and renovation project during a meeting at the end of October and signed contracts with the team in early December.

Street skaters will soon be shredding on a brand-new street skating plaza with boxes, ledges, rails and stairs with plenty of clearance to jump down. 

The hockey rink will be repurposed to construct the street plaza, Mullarkey said.

A pump track will also be part of the skatepark expansion, which will give expert skaters a chance to get their need for speed and beginners a way to gain balance and control.

The existing 20-year-old Anthem Skatepark is getting revamped, too.

The skatepark’s courses will be redesigned to alleviate dead-end lines, which prevent riders from keeping their flow and momentum.

The renovations will also benefit transition skaters and vert riders, who will soon be skating on brand new pool coping on the skatepark’s existing bowl. 

The preliminary design incorporated the requests and suggestions that were most desired by the 280 respondents of a community e-survey.

 Mullarkey noted that “the design itself was not discussed or challenged in the most recent meeting.”

The ACC advertised the SurveyMonkey to the community at the end of last year to solicit input on features they’d like to see added within the skatepark’s expansion as well as how the existing skatepark can be improved. These survey results were also presented during a February meeting.

Parents who responded to the survey wanted the pump track to give younger skaters an area where they’re not run over by the more experienced skaters, and the more experienced skaters voiced a need for street skating spots. 

During the most recent meeting, the board discussed the overall costs and whether the amount was too much, not enough or just right, Mullarkey explained. 

The approved budget covers the cost of repurposing the hockey rink into the street skating plaza, constructing the pump track and also covers the expenses of the various renovations to the existing skatepark, he said. 

The board also discussed the “additional activity that’s in the overall budget as well,” Mullarkey explained. 

This includes maintenance improvements like adding additional security cameras, LED lights and adding a fresh coat of paint to the light poles, all of which are outlined in the budget costs, he said.

Board members deliberated about the costs of some of these items, however, it ultimately agreed “all of the items needed to be done anyway,” as enhancing the skatepark is part of the overall project, he said. 

There was one public comment from a regular user of the hockey rink, Ty Howard, who disagreed with the repurposing of the hockey rink as part of the final skatepark design.

He also took to the February meeting to explain that Anthem’s amenities — particularly its hockey rink — were some of the “major deciding factors,” as to why he chose to move into the master planned community two years ago.

During the February meeting, he implored the board to consider the “valuable asset that roller hockey range is,” and said, “there’s plenty of room to expand it without taking the roller rink from us users that are there regularly.”

Mullarkey said “we’re working with Mr. Howard on alternatives” to possibly create a half-court hockey rink where he and his hockey community can still practice and do scrimmages. 

The ACC has had “a couple of conversations with them on some alternatives to see if they’d be acceptable,” but there are no formal announcements on the matter yet, he said.

However, the ACC has made a “commitment” to work with Howard to provide an alternative and “that’s what we’re looking at now,” Mullarkey said.

There were no other public comments made during the recent meeting.

Now that the final design and costs have been approved, the ACC and its board will go into a “behind-the-scenes” period, Mullarkey explained. 

The proceedings of the skatepark will be “out of sight, out of mind” as the ACC works to secure county permits and finalize matters with surveyors, designers and the construction team, he said.  

“Then toward the summer months, we’ll start talking about schedules and timing and what we need to start construction.”

Sidewalks may be closed off as the equipment starts moving in, however, the construction teams cannot pour concrete in the sweltering heat, so “We anticipate construction will start after the summer months,” Mullarkey said. 

The ACC is “looking forward” to the completion of this project and to be able to offer a “great amenity” to its residents.

“It’s a way to give something to our kids,” Mullarkey said. Anthem has around 5,000 kids, and the skatepark will provide a way to keep kids “off the streets and stay out of trouble.”

In addition, Mullarkey said the newly revamped and improved skatepark will provide a way for Anthem’s youth to “really become competitive skaters.”

—Staff writer Sarah Donahue can be reached at sdonahue@timespublications.com