Members of the skating community expressed frustration Wednesday night over plans for a skate park in Cambridge, which have been prolonged for more than 10 years.
The Charles River Skatepark, projected for construction under the Zakim Bridge in East Cambridge, will be open to BMX riders, inline skaters and skateboarders, according to the CRC website.
Project manager and former professional skateboarder Kanten Russell presented a slideshow of three preliminary park designs to an audience of about 100 people at the Boston Public Library.
Russell distributed questionnaires to gather input from the community on positives and negatives of the designs.
“We have about 10,000 to 12,000 more square feet we can utilize,” Russell said. “It is important to share what else you want in this park.”
The park is still planned to open in December of 2013, he said.
“This is not my skate park, not their skate park — it’s all of ours,” said Mike McIntyre, ASD founder and principal designer of the proposed skate park.
Members of the audience said they had concerns about how the designs would move forward and that they were frustrated the project has been going on for 10 years.
“I feel the frustration of you all,” said Andy MacDonald, multiple X-Games gold medalist. “We have been waiting for this to happen for a very long time, but I can honestly say I’m cautiously optimistic of this skate park going forward.”
MacDonald said the delays are unfortunate.
“This is something I want to see move forward,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for our community and the kids in this sport.”
The meeting was intended to provide feedback about the design of the proposed skate park, said Charles River Conservancy President Renata von Tscharner to The Daily Free Press.
“We want people in this meeting to understand the timeline of this project,” she said. “It is a long process that has not been easy.”
The CRC contracted Action Sport Design and Stantec in August to update and finalize the project design and oversee construction of the skate park, according to the CRC website.
Tscharner said they are breaking ground for the park on Thursday.
Planning for the skate park began in 2001, when the CRC hired skate park designer Zach Wormhoudt. In 2007, CRC contracted designer and builder Gridline to process the design.
“In 2008, CRC raised two and a half million dollars, enough for the skate park,” Tscharner said.
However, most progress and planning stopped because of the poor condition of the economy, she said.
A recent Memorandum of Agreement between CRC and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation allowed the skate park design process to move forward, she said.
CRC plans to host a second public meeting on Oct. 10, when ASD/Stantec will share with the community what they have come up with from suggestions of the public, according to the CRC website.
MacDonald said during the meeting that it is difficult to build a skate park in a city, and he is looking forward to the final product.
“This has never been done in Boston before,” he said. “It is hard to do this in any city, and usually takes this long. This is a gnarly project.”