The idea of putting a funky, sprawling outdoor skateboarding park under the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge downtown is falling apart due to the cost.
Instead, Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission Executive Director Tom O’Rourke is focusing on the county’s Recycling Center property at Romney Street as a possible alternative.
O’Rourke said he is committed to building a skate park on the peninsula, where it would be centrally located and draw the most use.
But he said the Ravenel bridge site, proposed at Meeting and Huger streets, started losing its potential several months ago, based on what he said were state highway department demands for thicker, more expensive levels of concrete. Drainage issues were compounding the cost as well.
PRC has a $2 million budget for the skate park but the new requirements would have pushed the total cost up to $3.5 million, O’Rourke said.
The S.C. Department of Transportation’s communication office Friday could not immediately provide answers to questions about the project.
When the below-the-bridge spot was first announced for a 40,000-square-foot skate park, it drew rave reviews from skateboarders. They saw potential for a unique course of bowls, ramps and jumps that would also benefit from the shade provided by the overpasses.
O’Rourke said the recycling center shed, which the county is looking to vacate, could prove a popular substitute. It would be indoors and shaded, he said, and could lead to other activities, such as a climbing wall.
“If you have the right site, you can be unlimited,” O’Rourke said. He plans to meet with county Administrator Kurt Taylor this week.
O’Rourke said the Ravenel bridge site is still “on the table,” though it has been moved further down as a possibility.
Ryan Cockrell, of the skateboarder advocacy group “Pour it Now,” said his members are disappointed at the slow pace that governments have taken in getting a park done. He also still likes the Ravenel Bridge idea.
“Right now it’s a blight,” Cockrell said of the area. “It could be an amazing attraction.”
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