About 3 years ago, several petitions were submitted by local young people and skaters asking for a skate park in Middlesbrough. The Mayor, Ray Mallon took this on board and said that he would look into providing a facility in Middlesbrough. The Countryside, Parks and Open Spaces Development team were tasked with the job of:-- Finding a site and location
- Finding the money to fund a park
- Consulting with local users.
Having never done one before, and knowing nothing about skate parks, BMX or skating, Paul Rabbitts, Policy and Development Manager for the Council took this on and immediately went to look at skate parks throughout the country – Sheffield, Perth, Livingston, Nuneaton, Carlisle, York, Coventry and started speaking to skaters, providers and looking at what this involved. It soon became apparent that this could be huge and also it was not about “sticking “ a few ramps on an old tennis court. Consultation was the key factor on:-- Location and site
- Skate material (concrete, steel, wood or Skatelite?)
A flyer and questionnaire was devised and sent across the town and 2 major test events were held, both free, with the only proviso, users had to fill in a questionnaire. The response was massive. Prissick was the preferred site and Concrete and Skatelite were the preferred materials and it had to be a managed site.
The Design team was set up and involved a group called Prissick Skaters, a group of about 25 users who set about putting down design ideas. The demand was for a DC Plaza facility, designed by Site Design Group from Tempe, Arizona. They were commissioned to come up with designs on a Skate Plaza, the first in Europe. Site Design Group came up with the plans and the implementation team started to put costs together. At the same time, Paul Rabbitts was looking at how to fund the project. Costs were estimated at £500,000. Bids were submitted to Sport England’s Active England Programme supported by Big Lottery Fund (£80,000); SITA Trust, Landfill Tax credit scheme ( £100,000); Living Spaces (£25,000); and to Middlesbrough Councils Capital Programme (£245,000). The remainder was to come from developer contributions via the Council. All bids were successful.
It was then suggested that a visit was needed to Site Design Group to firm up designs and to basically “suss” them out. The Project Manager, Project Engineer and Dean “Bod” Brodrick, from Mischief skate store flew to Arizona to look at skate parks and plazas. 'Awesome!!' Bod enthuses, “we visited 6 parks around Tempe and everyone of them was different from the others in terms of features. Some more street orintated, some more transitions and bowls, but all of them were really well layed out and the construction was spot on. These were clearly who we needed for the job”
Funding now in place, Designs approved, works were tendered and awarded to Hall Construction of County Durham under the technical guidance of Middlesbrough Councils Design Services Team and Baker Mallett Quantity Surveyors.
On site, in July 2005, the plaza will be completed in November 2005. Total cost is in the region of £600,000.
Managed and maintained by Streetscene Services, it is flloodlit, covered by CCTV, manned daily, and secured by design, it includes features from all over the world; Philadelphia (Love Park), San Francisco (Pier 7), various spots from Los Angeles, and Miami; and Barcelona, Spain.DIRECTIONS
The plaza is in between the Captain Cook Hospital and Stewart Park on Marton Road. If the hospital is on your right you have gone past the plaza. Alternatively if Stewarts Park is on your left you have gone past the plaza.
Nearest railway station, Marton Station, The Grove.
By Bus- No's 20, 21, 28, 29, 62, 67, 67/A, 90, 610, 632, 762
from stands 5, 6, 7 at Middlebrough Bus Station.