CHATHAM, NJ - Despite the lack of information being released to the public, behind-the-scenes discussions on the options for relocating the skatepark are ongoing, according to Chatham Township Administrator Robert Hoffmann.
The subject came up at the regular meeting of the Chatham Township Committee on Thursday night when resident Lee Giblin asked for an update during public commentary (see video below).
The skatepark on Southern Boulevard is slated to be eliminated when 24 Affordable Housing units are constructed on the site, which has long been designated as land set aside for such use.
Chatham Township is still litigating its third round obligation of affordable housing in court and that is the reason for lack of public comment about the relocation options for the skatepark.
"There are other decisions that have to be made first before we can either present one or two options for the skateboard park," Hoffmann said. "I don't mean to be vague about it but there are some parcels that could be considered here in the township but there are other pressing needs that the township committee and the professional staff are looking at.
"Once other decisions are made that will let us know whether some of the parcels we've identified are a viable solution. We have other matters of litigation that have to be addressed first before we can solve the skateboard situation here in the township. There are two other municipalities that are discussing creating a skateboard park. They are just conversations right now."
Robert Hoffmann, the township administrator, explains the lack of public information on the relocation of the skatepark
Complicating the issue is that the equipment at the current skatepark may not be able to be moved to another site. The possibility of spending in the range of $350,000 for an in-ground, cement skateboard facility is another hurdle that has to be cleared.
"We're certainly hopeful that we can find a solution," Chatham Township Deputy Mayor Mike Kelly said. "We haven't found a solution yet. It's a conundrum."
Committee member Curt Ritter suggested that in the meantime advocates for the skatepark should be organizing to raise funds that would be needed to construct a new skatepark. Committee member Tracy Ness suggested that Passaic River County Park in Chatham should be looked into as a possible relocation site.
In other business, Ritter gave up an update (see the video below) on the possibility of setting up a shuttle service for Chatham Township commuters to the Chatham Borough Train Station. Chatham's Christ Church and a lot at Shunpike Park can accommodate 72 commuter parking spots. Ritter said a second survey will be conducted with specific questions about the service before any formal plan is voted on.
Ness reported that Colony Pool membership had gone up from 363 in 2018 to 393 this year and that there were 117 new members. She said a full accounting of the finances will be forthcoming.