LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) UPDATE:
Graffiti reading "Save Me" on downtown Lynchburg skate park (WDBJ7)
Amazement Square has agreed to transfer a skate facility it has operated for nearly ten years, without requesting any compensation from the City of Lynchburg, according to a statement from the city.
Officials from Amazement Square and the City of Lynchburg met to discuss the transfer Wednesday afternoon. According to the city's statement, Amazement Square wishes to retain and operate the adjacent train car as a café for trail users and visitors to Amazement Square as part of its deal to transfer the skate park.
City leaders plan to work out details regarding the transfer prior to the end of the year, with a goal of reopening the skate park in early 2018.
More than 10 years ago, an agreement between the City and the Amazement Square children’s museum forged a way for an outdoor skate park in Lynchburg.
But the park has been closed for nearly a year and the skateboarding community is pushing for a change.
Amazement Square, who currently manages the park, says they had to close the park due to vandalism.
The Amazement Square board is asking the city to reimburse them for personal funds spent on the park. "Amazement Square has done a lot for this community and we continue wanting to do that, but we can't just give something away where we have invested these funds in which we could have used for other purposes," said Mort Sajadian, the President and CEO of Amazement Square.
Dozens in support of the park showed up Tuesday night as Council members discussed six different options for the park including compensating for the property, which is owned by Amazement Square.
Council members voted unanimously to take over the park management, and to negotiate obtaining the deed to the property.
Supporters of the skate park said the meeting was a positive step forward. "It's a wonderful community that they've created in Lynchburg so now that it gets to open up again and we just want it to be really really soon because being closed for all intents and purposes, for five years is not good. It should be open," explained Lauren Dianich, the Co-chair of Save Our Skate Park initiative.
The park will cost more than $13,000 per year to manage, according to City Manager Bonnie Svrcek.
In her recommendation to council, she proposes a payment plan to acquire the park from Amazement Square. "Part of the recommendation also includes negotiating some kind of payment plan over time with Amazement Square for some of the improvements they've made to the property," explained Svrcek.
Council agreed to negotiate the acquisition of the property at future meetings.