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Foundation seeks skateboarders’ input on Alix Rice skatepark in Amherst

Calling all skateboarders.

The foundation building a new skate park in Amherst wants your input on the project. A community meeting is scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Northtown Center at Amherst, 1615 Amherst Manor Drive.

“It’s for them anyway, so why not have them weigh in?” said Jonathan Fulcher, president of the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation. “We want to make sure the facility, when it’s built, is built for the needs of the community.”

The skate park is in memory of Alexandria “Alix” Rice, the 18-year-old who was killed by a drunken driver in July 2011 while riding her longboard late at night on Heim Road as she headed home from her job at a pizzeria.

In the aftermath of the death and controversial verdict in the trial of the driver, the foundation was created, with the goal of building a 10,000-square-foot concrete skate park in Alix’s memory so kids will have a safe place to ride for free.

The foundation recently signed a user agreement with the Town of Amherst to locate the skate park on a portion of the parking lot at the Northtown Center. The foundation – which is responsible for paying the costs of construction, insurance and maintenance – is about 97 percent of the way to reaching its goal of $350,000, Fulcher said.

“It looks like groundbreaking will more likely be next spring than this fall, but this is the first step in making it a reality,” Fulcher said.

The foundation brought aboard Seattle-based Grindline Skateparks to design the facility. Grindline has been building parks for 25 years, including in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle and Houston.

“Community meetings and public input are critical to the success of any public skate park. Our goal is to engage the public and get their buy-in on the project,” said Micah Shapiro, the lead designer. “This meeting will be the place for the public to provide input on what elements should be included in the skate park, and also for the design team to address any questions and concerns that the public might have regarding the skate park.”