How Much Do Skateparks Cost?

This is a complex question whose answer depends largely on what kind of skatepark you’re talking about. It’s kind of like asking, “how much does a car cost?” There are two costs associated with skateparks. The first expense is the cost to design and build the facility. The second expense is the cost of maintaining and operating that facility over a period of time. (These expenses together are considered the “total cost of ownership,” or “TCO.”)

Most of the time when someone asks how much it will cost, they’re specifically asking about the cost of construction. (Construction, for the average person, will include the cost of design.) People familiar with park development—particularly those within the Parks Department—will also want to know how much the skatepark will cost each year in maintenance. (Skatepark maintenance is covered elsewhere.)

Square-foot size of skatepark X $45
=
Skatepark Creation Cost Estimate
+/- Project Cost Factors

The average price to design and build a skatepark is $45 per square foot. Skateparks rarely are more than $60 per square foot, and can sometimes be as low as $25 per square foot.

At the average cost of $45 per square foot:

  • A 3,000 square foot skate spot will be $135,000 and will support a few skaters at a time.
  • An 8,000 square foot neighborhood skatepark will be $360,000 and will serve a neighborhood of about 25,000 residents.
  • A 16,000 square foot regional skatepark will be $720,000 and will service the immediate neighborhood and attract patrons from the region.

As a reasonable starting point we’ll use $450,000 for a 10,000 square foot skatepark.

There are factors that can influence the cost of creation. It’s impossible to specifically enumerate the impact of these factors.

Adjacent Construction
Skateparks that are built within the context of a larger park development can cut costs by sharing heavy equipment and other resources.

Amenities
The cost of creating a skatepark will include all site improvements associated with the skateboarding facility. The path leading to the skatepark, fence, benches, water fountain, restrooms, lights, and immediate landscaping can all have a major impact on the cost of building the park. (A restroom alone can easily double the cost of the facility.)

Sites that already have restrooms, lights, paths, and other amenities are obviously going to be less expensive to create skateparks on than sites with no current improvements.

Design Constraints
Some sites have specific design constraints that must be addressed. Perhaps the location is home to old trees that must be preserved. The skatepark must be designed around these fixed elements, and that can add cost to the project.

Most design constraints reflect community priorities and/or the preservation of natural resources.

Design Details
Some skatepark structures cost more to create. Overhanging elements such as cradles and full-pipes are more expensive than simple structures like ledges and flat banks.

Distance to Resources
There are two main requirements for building skateparks, and they both cost money. You need qualified people to design and construct it, and you need construction materials. Both cost money. Many professional skatepark builders will bring a small number of specialists to a project and employ local builders to help round out the crew. (Not everyone on the construction site needs to be a specialist.) Local contractors are less expensive than bringing specialists from outside of the region because they are generally paid less and don’t require housing arrangements.

The distance to available construction materials can also be a factor. Importing cubic yards of granite to a region where granite isn’t readily available is going to add cost, for example.

Drainage
Skatepark bowls require drains so that rainwater doesn’t pool at the bottom of the structure. The drain must be connected to plumbing that leads to a sump or a main waste-water line. This adds expense to the project. Street plaza skatepark designs, because they lack bowls, don’t require plumbing and the water can “sheet drain” off the sides of the facility. (A subtle grade in the flat concrete moves water to the sides of the park.) Sheet-draining is generally less expensive than plumbing.

In-Kind Donations
A great way to reduce the cost of a skatepark is to have construction materials donated directly to the project. Concrete, rebar, and heavy equipment can be donated, among other things. Anything that is donated can come right out of the skatepark builder’s bill. Consult with your skatepark designer and/or builder before seeking in-kind donations.

Site Preparation
Some skatepark designs and locations will require more site preparation than others. Projects that require lots of grading and earth-moving, or that have current structures on them that need to be demolished, will be more expensive than projects that don’t.

Size
The larger the skatepark, the more material and time it will take. Not surprisingly, size is the most significant factor in estimating the cost of creation.

Specialized Labor
General contractors (GC) are less expensive than skatepark specialists. However, most GCs have no experience building skateparks and will not be sensitive to the important nuances that make skateboarding structures work. Therefore, it’s NOT recommended that you use a general contractor for your skatepark construction. It is becoming increasingly popular to use GCs to create the non-essential portions of the skatepark, such as the decks around a bowl or the walkway leading to the park.

Soil Condition
Sand, bog, and clay soil can dramatically increase the cost of construction. Poor soil conditions result in settling and compaction during and after construction. This can cause cracks and breakage in the final concrete skatepark. When soil conditions are poor, expensive construction techniques must be used to prevent cracks from forming.

In industrial areas, pollutants in the soil can be a concern. Environmental regulations often require that any project that unearths this soil must replace it or cap it with “clean” dirt. The presence of contaminated soil can raise the cost of skatepark construction.

Volunteer Labor
Volunteer labor will help reduce costs, but most skatepark companies and Parks Departments will have policies that strictly govern when and how volunteers can be used. Volunteers are typically used for non-critical or menial, unskilled tasks, such as general landscaping, tying rebar, scraping overspray on concrete, picking up around the job site, running errands, and so on.

You won’t have a clear sense of what cost-saving opportunities you will have until you get further into the development process. It’s good to have a sense of what factors may influence your skatepark costs early on.

Skatepark cost estimates come up quite often. Until you have more specific information, it’s safe to go with a $45-per-square-foot formula.

Square-foot size of skatepark X $45
=
Skatepark Creation Cost Estimate
+/- Project Cost Factors