The ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Jan. 10.
Though the city still doesn’t have enough money to complete the $1.8 million project, it is starting with a $750,000 skate plaza while it works to secure the rest of the funding.
“The foundation is actively engaged in the capital fund, but we’re starting Phase I,” park foundation chair RJ Patel said. “The majority part of that is coming from the SPLOST. What is dedicated to the skate park is $750,000.”
According to the city, the two phases of the project are estimated to cost a combined $1.8 million; $1.4 million from the 2011 SPLOST and the remainder from corporate or private donations or grants, not the city’s general fund.
“The Phase I estimated construction time is six months,” project leader Jeff Drobney said in a statement. “Phase II will begin as soon as funding is secured.”
Patel said although about $450,000 is still needed in “gap funding,” the project start is a sign of good faith.
“We want to show that we are committed to the community in making this happen, because it’s been a long time in the making,” he said. “By starting this project, once we get the usage by the general public, it will generate more and more interest, which will lead to the gap funding.”
According to Drobney, the facility will be the first permanent skate park to feature elements modeled on a competitive street skate park plaza design.
“It will be capable of hosting large and small size skateboarding events,” he said.
The first phase will include additional parking, lighting and restrooms.
“The flow course and bowl will be built during the second phase,” Drobney said, for which fundraising is in progress.
Mayor Mark Mathews said in a statement the project, which has been in the works since a 2001 survey revealed the need for it, is highly anticipated.
“We’re excited that construction on this long-anticipated project is beginning,” he said. “Representatives from our two key partners on the project, the SITE Design Group and contractor California Skateparks, will be on hand to mark the occasion.”
Matthews responded to media reports the contractor failed to disclose recent litigation during the bid process.
“The city completed a very thorough assessment of each of the bidders responding to our skatepark request for bid,” he said. “As it stands today, there is no reason to take any action on the project other than completing the capital campaign to fill the funding gap.”