Officials: Skate park still in Shelton's future

SHELTON — A new skate park remains on the horizon, but lack of funding will push the project back some, officials say.

Earlier this month, the state denied Shelton’s application for a $250,000 Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP) grant that would have covered the costs of creating a new skate park at a site yet to be officially determined. 

Mayor Mark Lauretti lamented the denied grant but stated that the city will have more than one bite at the financial apple. He said the city backs the skate park plan and future grant applications will be filed. 

“There is support for the skate park, we just have multiple projects going on right now,"" Lauretti said.

Jim Mazzadra and Anthony DeLieto, the pair of Shelton residents and long-time skaters who helped spearhead what has become a movement for a new skate park, praised the city for its support. 

“We all know they are on our side,” said Mazzadra, who months ago started a petition on change.org seeking others who support his call for a reopened skate park to replace the skate park which had been located under the Route 8 bridge on Riverdale Avenue. 

Mazzadra said that when he created the petition, the idea was to just return the ramps to the old space under the Route 8 bridge. Since then, he and DeLieto have meet with Lauretti, members of the Board of Aldermen and Parks and Recreation to discuss the new skate park, and all have given their full support. 

From there, Mazzadra and DeLieto, with input from local skaters young and old, worked with a designer to create plans for the creation of a “street design” park, which tentatively would be placed on the far end of the Riverwalk, near the bridge abutment. No final decision on location has been made. 

The plans, Mazzadra said, come in within the $250,000 grant amount the city had applied for. 

“Everywhere I go, people ask me about what’s happening with the project,” he said. “I am happy to tell people, it may take time, but the city wants this, and I really feel this is going to happen. 

"(Lauretti) has been great throughout this process," Mazzadra said. "We went in, explained our case, and he said, ‘When do we start? What are the next steps?’ This was definitely not like in other towns who have sought similar skate parks."

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com