Evanston skateboard enthusiasts will be getting a dedicated skate park by the end of this year, as Evanston City Council members on March 13 approved a $1.757 million contract with a Minooka, Illinois, firm to construct a facility at the eastern end of Twiggs Park.

Council members voted unanimously in favor of contracting with the firm, Hacienda Landscaping, to build the new 10,000-square foot custom cast-in-place concrete skating facility.

The skate park is planned for the eastern end of Twiggs Park. Credit: City of Evanston

Council Member Juan Geracaris (9th Ward), who was active in a group working for a skate park before his appointment to the council, expressed delight Monday that he was able to take part in approving the contract – “and I’m really looking forward to hopefully enjoying the park,” he told colleagues.

“This will be a very interesting opportunity to do some community-building,” he said. “Skate parks are what I’ve learned is called like ‘third places,’ where you can be without having to spend any money. It’s really, I think … a great thing for the youth in town and also us old guys who still skateboard.”

Officials began exploring the possibility of a dedicated facility in 2020, with concerns raised about local skateboarders using the city’s newly refurbished Fountain Square and other downtown areas for their activities.

The city last operated a skate park sometime in the 1990s, it is believed, in the paved lot east of the old Robert Crown Community Center. That equipment was made of wood, however, and degraded over time. The facility was ultimately discontinued, officials said.

An overview of the planned Twiggs Park skate park. Credit: City of Evanston

At Twiggs, said Stefanie Levine, the city’s senior project manager, the new skate park will be between Green Bay Road to the east, the North Shore Channel to the north, an existing parking lot to the south, and Dewey Avenue to the west. 

“This new facility includes features such as expansive skating surfaces and obstacles, pathways, seat walls, security lighting, drainage facilities, site furniture, a shade structure, fencing, new landscaping, and other related amenities,” Levine wrote in a memo. “The improvement also includes relocating an existing bike path to accommodate the skate park.”

To assist with the project’s construction, Levine noted, the city applied and obtained a $400,000 Open Space and Land Acquisition and Development grant through the state Department of Natural Resources.

Planned features of the Twiggs Park stake park. Credit: City of Evanston

Local skateboarders played a role in the design of the facility. Levine and Capital Planning & Engineering Bureau Chief Lara Biggs, working with Jodi Mariano of Evanston-based Teska Associates, the consultant on the project, led a series of listening sessions, seeking skateboarders’ opinions on what they would like to see in the park. A public survey generated 1,056 responses and influenced officials on the project.

Based on the survey, Levine wrote, “it became evident that the community members preferred that the City terminate consideration of a ‘temporary’ installation and focus resources on a permanent site/installation.”

The Evanston Parks & Recreation Department said on Facebook that construction is anticipated to begin in mid-April and be completed by December.

Bob Seidenberg

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.

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