First phase of downtown skate park completed

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November marked the opening of the long-awaited Roc City Skate Park, one element of ROC the Riverway, a comprehensive set of improvements aimed at reconnecting Rochester to the Genesee River. Graphic combines Google Map image and City of Rochester’s Roc the Riverway Vision Plan.

In a creative use of hard-to-develop real estate, the city of Rochester just completed Phase I of the Roc City Skate Park. Promoted by Friends of the Roc City Skate Park since 2008, the park is located under the Frederick Douglass-Susan B. Anthony Memorial Bridge. The Tony Hawk Foundation contributed $250,000 of Phase I’s $1.5 million project cost. The completed project is expected to cost about twice this amount.

Read more:Rochester reclaims the river

Friends of the Roc City Skate Park founder James Maddison reports that this has been their preferred site from the beginning, although others were discussed during the planning process. “It’s an incredible site,” he says. Not only does the bridge provide some weather protection, but it places the park “right in the heart of downtown” instead of being pushed off to the periphery. The project provides healthy recreational outlets for young people, boosters say. Stadium lighting permits the park to stay open until 10 p.m. in the winter and 11 p.m. in the summer.

Skatepark groundbreaking. (Credit: Corey Vance)

The city of Rochester website indicates that restrictions due to COVID-19 have prompted the park’s temporary closure.Concerns about facemask compliance with required use of facemasks from the start prompted the city and Friends of the Roc City Skate Park to provide staffing to enforce the use of masks.

Statistics on the numbers using the park are unavailable at this time. Fundraising for Phases II and III—which will roughly double the size of the park—are ongoing. 

Roc City Skate Park under construction during author’s Sept. 26 tour of ROC the Riverway projects

Roc City Skate Park under construction during author’s Sept. 26 tour of ROC the Riverway projects. (Credit: Kent Gardner)
(Credit: Rochester Public Library)

Kent Gardner is Rochester Beacon opinion editor.

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