Beginning advocates often struggle to justify skatepark projects that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can seem impossibly expensive at first. Skatepark advocates think that proposing such an expensive project is a quick way to get denied by City Council. Inexperienced advocates are often tempted to reduce the cost estimate of the skatepark proposal believing that it would be more attractive to community leaders. The result of this low early estimate is that the group needs to revise that estimate upwards later or settle for a smaller skatepark than their community actually needs. It’s much better to estimate slightly higher and scale downward later.
You can let your anxiety about the high dollar amounts go after considering what other things cost in your community. These are estimated costs of construction based on national averages. These figures do not include ongoing maintenance and operational expenses.
Multi-purpose trail: $20 per linear foot ($100,000 per mile)
Tree: $300 (each)
Trash can: $500 (each)
BBQ structure: $900
Bike rack: $1,000
Park sign: $2,000
Horseshoe pits: $2,500 (each)
Drinking fountain: $3,500
Security lighting: $4,500 (each)
Parking space: $5,000 (each)
Sports lighting: $10,000 (each)
Small skate Spot: $12,000
Volleyball court: $13,000
Climbing structure: $15,000
Basketball court: $28,000
Soccer field: $35,000
Picnic shelter: $50,000
Tennis court: $60,000
Softball field: $160,000
Baseball field: $200,000
Neighborhood Skatepark (10,000 sf): $400,000
Regional Skatepark (20,000 sf): $800,000
Restroom/Concession/Press Box: $1,000,0000
Parking lot (150–200 stalls): $1,250,000
After looking over this list, you can see that a 10,000 square foot skatepark for $400,000 is not such a dramatic expense.
You can also consider how many individuals are served by each of these facilities weekly. A reasonably designed skatepark will usually have dozens of people using it in the afternoons, while many of these other facilities are used only during the weekends or even seasonally.
Key Point! The total cost of ownership for most of the facilities on this list, (and particularly the green fields), are ongoing. Skatepark maintenance is relatively inexpensive. Aside from trash removal, no ongoing maintenance should be required.