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Geer Park to Receive New Skatepark

Ernie Samora

Contributing Writer

Salem Parks and Recreation Department is preparing for construction of a brand new 19,500 square foot state-of-the-art skate park to be added to Geer Park. Located just two miles from campus, Geer Park’s new facelift presents an exciting future for the Salem skate scene.

A recent update to the Comprehensive Park System Master Plan has identified a need for two new skateparks in the city. The update made the new skatepark possible, alongside a host of new amenities in Geer including a plaza, picnic areas and a new playground. The skatepark would be placed in the northern area of the park, next to the already existing bike park. Evergreen Skatepark is in charge of design and construction, with two options being considered for the design.

Option A is a stretched out design with a green space in the middle, which helps to make the park feel larger than it actually is. The goal of this design is to “make it feel like you’re riding down the street,” said Richie Conklin, a designer and project manager for Evergreen, during a public online meeting. Option A includes obstacles such as a clover bowl, pyramid hip, cantilevered edge and an A-Frame along with various other rails and edges. The second option, in contrast, aims for a more balanced approach, with a more squished, round design with no green space. This design would feature an area for free, open-flowing transitions along with a clover bowl, spines, a flat edge and various sized ledges, rails and pads.

Lighting and covering will not be present at the park’s debut but are being considered to be added in the future. The design is currently under public review, which will take place until May 2023. Construction for the park is planned for Spring/Summer 2024. “Staff is confident that the project can be constructed by September 2025” wrote Brian D. Martin, Acting Public Works Director on the grant application. The design will be chosen based on the results of the public review. Either option could change in obstacles or appearance based on these results. “Effortless fun, fast flow,” is the goal Conklin described in a public online meeting.

The Park System Development Charges (SDCs), a set of fees collected by developers specifically for the development of new park services, will fund the Geer Park project. SDCs have provided the park $1.9 million so far. However, the project is facing a projected funding shortfall due to inflation and rising construction costs. Salem city council recently submitted an application for a grant from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s Local Government Grant program, which could provide up to $500,000. The grant program is funded by Salem Lottery. “Further SDC funding may be added in the following year's City budget,” said Rob Romanek, Parks and Natural Resources Planning Manager for the city of Salem, via email.

If the project receives the funding necessary, the park would certainly have a positive impact. A new skatepark was identified as a critical need by the Parks Master Plan and by local scene members.

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