HOLDEN, Mass. — After years of drawing up plans and trying to stir up support for a skate park for Holden's kids, the skate park committee officially disbanded after a continued lack of interest from the town.
"It's heartbreaking," said committee chair Mike Savino, who has been involved nearly since the beginning, and was the last remaining member Tuesday after other volunteers left due to other commitments.
As interest dwindled, Holden Recreation Director Denise Morano advised that it was time to disband the committee and take the project off the table, which Savino said is disappointing for the kids in the community who need a safe place to skate.
For more than three years the committee has continued its efforts, persevering despite highs and lows in support and a changing board of volunteers.
The project began with $50,000 from recreation dollars — about $23,000 of which was used to produce a 6,000 square foot park design by Hardcore Skate parks.
While Town Manager Nancy Galkowski encouraged the committee to shut down project last winter due to lack of interest, the community responded with an influx of support and the committee saw new momentum.
Furthermore, a Skate Jam fundraiser last spring saw hundreds of skaters rally in support of the project, breathing new life to the committee as it went forward.
Yet Savino said there were still challenges, one being that the proposed site of Eagle Lake Park was still in question. Additionally, the committee meeting time of 5:30 p.m. on Tuesdays made it difficult for families to commit time to support the effort.
"It's the lack of turnout that killed the project," he said. "We tried to keep the dream alive, but that's all it is right now, a dream."
Still, he said all hope is not lost and he is pushing to see the remaining $26,000, allocated for the original project in the town's recreation budget, be used to build at least a little skate park in town.
"There needs to be a skate park in Holden," he said, explaining that the town's skateboarders either have to go to nearby skate parks in Worcester or Fitchburg, or take to the streets where it's not safe.