Shelton seeks grant for skate park reboot after petition drive

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — Skateboarders will soon have a place to call their own again in the city.

Officials plan to apply for a Small Town Economic Assistance Program grant for $250,000 to cover the costs of creating a new skate park at a site in Shelton yet to be determined.

The move comes months after Shelton resident Jim Mazzadra started a petition on change.org seeking others who support his call for a reopened skate park, replacing the skate park which had been located under the Route 8 bridge on Riverdale Avenue.

“This is a dream come true,” Mazzadra said. “I was just overwhelmed by the support when I started this petition. It’s amazing how everything has come together so quickly.”

Mazzadra said he and his friend and fellow skater Anthony DeLieto have meet with Mayor Mark Lauretti, members of the Board of Aldermen and Parks and Recreation to discuss the new skate park, and all have given their full support.

“We’re going in the right direction,” said Board of Aldermen President John Anglace, Jr.

The Board of Aldermen, at its meeting last week, vote to approve applying for the $250,000 grant.

Anglace said the city is keeping its options open on possible locations — one such site being considered is on Canal Street on land known as The Slab next to Veterans Memorial Park.

“If we get the grant, we plan to work with the skateboarders to get to the right location,” Anglace said.

Mazzadra said that representatives from Rampage Skatepark were part of the meetings with city officials. He said that his plans are for local skateboarders to have input in the final design process, so the facility is appropriate for all ages and skill levels.

“We just want to skate, and it is exciting to see how people are supporting this,” Mazzadra added.

The old location, since closed, was under the Route 8 bridge on Riverdale Avenue. Shelton Parks and Recreation Director Ron Herrick said the city, in conjunction with the city of Derby, had received permission from the state to use that space. The area is state-owned land.

Herrick said both cities contributed to the equipment purchases, and the Valley YMCA was involved in overseeing the site for some years. Shelton took over that duty for the next three years, during which time he said use dwindled.

He said the site remained open for several years without onsite staff.

In the late-2010s, the area was closed as the state was doing construction on the Route 8 bridge. Herrick said some of the equipment was damaged while being removed, and in the end the park was never reopened.

Herrick said over the ensuing years, he may have received a call or two a year asking about reopening the park or creating a new one, but interest has not been high.

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com