In just a few weeks, construction crews will be at Faulkner Skate Park in Tyler to begin working to quadruple the skating space and add a variety of new attractions.
This addition is the second phase of building the skate park that first began in 2019 and currently offers 3,500 square feet for skaters to use.
Last week, the Tyler City Council awarded a bid not to exceed $350,000 to Evergreen Skateparks, LLC to add 10,500 square feet to Faulkner’s skating area. Once complete, the park will feature expansive street terrain with ledges, rails and ramps. There will also be a lazy river-style skatepark in a circular shape and Jersey barriers along with an easy-flow integrated with traditional street features.
Russ Jackson, city of Tyler director of parks, said construction workers should be on site in the first week of December. He noted that COVID-19 caused some plans to be put on hold earlier in the year, but the parks department was able to continue with bids and proposals.
Depending on weather conditions, Jackson said the construction could be complete in February or March. He said the current size of Faulkner Skate Park is “really small” and this will provide more skating room for community members.
Once the renovation is complete, Faulkner will have over 14,000 square feet for skaters. And after construction is done, the Nobel E. Young Skate Park will be demolished.
Jackson explained that while the skate park will be demolished, the entire Nobel E. Young Park, located at 3125 Seaton St, will remain open.
“As of right now, (the plan) would be to reforest the area and bring back trails,” Jackson said.
Nobel E. Young Park was dedicated by the Tyler City Council and Tyler Parks and Recreation Board in 1998.
In addition to the skate park that was added in 2010, the other features are basketball courts, disc golf course, trails for hiking and biking, multipurpose courts, pavilion, picnic areas and playgrounds.
Jackson said that park is in need of renovations as well, such as the pavilion and bathrooms. The response about the eventual demolition has varied with both positive and opposing comments.
A petition on change.org is circulating to gather signatures in opposition to tearing down the Nobel E. Young Skate Park. As of Friday afternoon, there have been over 1,400 signatures.
Mandy Glasscock, who started the online petition to the city of Tyler, wrote in the description, “things keep getting pushed to south Tyler and we are losing a wonderful playground and park in west Tyler. People come from north Tyler, Lindale, and all over to skate here. Having a skate park only in south Tyler at Faulkner Park makes it difficult if not impossible for many to utilize a skatepark.”
Jackson said the city has already provided opportunities to speak in favor or against the project.
Through the Faulkner Park addition, he said there will be an equivalent amount of skating area just in one spot. This project will also give the chance for Tyler to host skating events.
“By moving to Faulkner Park, we’re trying to have state and national events there in the future,” he said. “It’s been highly used and crowded. So this is going to help add some space.”
He added the parks department doesn’t have the funding or staffing to maintain two skate parks.
“We need to have it where I have staff eight hours a day to maintain the skatepark,” he said. “We just don’t have the funding to maintain and build two skateparks.”
For kids interested in visiting Tyler parks, Jackson said people 18 and younger can receive free transportation to visit a park.