MONTCLAIR, NJ — Montclair Planning Board member Martin Schwartz is proposing a skate park alternative that would provide no cost to taxpayers, according to a release.
Since 2005, residents have been calling on elected officials to create a skate park in the Township. Costs for such a project and location have delayed any movement on such a proposal.
Schwartz, who has served on the planning board since 2012, says that he believes Montclair Township could create this recreational amenity by connecting with sponsors and stepped-up grants.
According to Schwartz, he has connected with a private marketing company that he says can fund all of the design and construction costs to build a skate park in Montclair, on condition. If the Township allocates land for this youth recreational amenity, then he projects that this can become a reality.
"What’s needed for the public-private partnership is on-site placement of promotion signage -– the advertising marketing sponsorship model that would fund the project," he said.
Schwartz says that he has reached out to colleagues on the Council, who have informed him that Montclair is reviewing possible skate park locations in Erie Park, Rand and Nishuane Parks.
Both Councilors Robin Schlager and Renee Baskerville have reportedly met with skating proponents over the past few months to try to bring this long time desired project to fruition.
In November, nearly 150 skaters and their parents appeared at a Town Council meeting after circulating a petition online.
Schwartz added that he's been talking with Pennsylvania-based Catalyst Experiential and has devised a plan that could fund the park if the Township would agree to "promotional signage." According to Schwartz, the company's signage would generate enough revenue to cover all design and construction costs for the park.
Using this "collaborative municipal market approach," Catalyst Experiential has built an EMS facility in Mt. Laurel and a $2.5 million dog park in Pennsylvania, Schwartz said.
Schwartz also stated that a dedicated skate park with signage could be "tastefully integrated within a local park."
He also notes that such similar sponsorship opportunities were originally proposed by a Board of Ed appointed residents subcommittee years ago. Those recommendations suggested even using advertising on school bus side panels to help generate added revenue that could fund educational and recreational school amenities. Unfortunately, Schwartz says all of those sub-committee recommendations, including enhanced space rentals of existing school facilities – have never been implemented.
Schwartz added that Mayor Robert Jackson has done an excellent job at establishing a more professional and fiscally directed operating mindset today and that Schwartz feels that adding his suggestion, at no cost to taxpayers is a similar, fiscally responsible and viable solution.