SARANAC LAKE - Brad Siedlecki has designed and help build more than 150 skateboard parks of all shapes and sizes across the country and around the world.
Given that, you might think him coming to Saranac Lake to build a meager 5,000-square-foot skate park in a village parking lot would be small potatoes.
But that isn't the case at all for Siedlecki, who has ties to the North Country and says he knows how important the project will be for local kids and the community.
Brad Siedlecki of Pillar Design Studios, center, talks about the layout of the skateboard park he’s designing for the village of Saranac Lake during a Wednesday visit to the site behind Community Bank on Broadway. Pictured from left are skateboarding enthusiats Joe Shoemaker and Andrew Relyea, Siedlecki, Peggy Wiltberger of the Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee and village Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Dora.
(Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)
"My family's from northern New York, the Star Lake-Newton Falls area. I grew up in Oswego," Siedlecki told the Enterprise Wednesday. "There's nothing like this up here. I grew up skateboarding in this area and coming up into the Adirondacks, and there was never anything to skate. So this has always been a dream of mine to come up and improve the quality of skateboarding in this area."
Siedlecki, who runs Pillar Design Studios, was in town Wednesday to go over the design of the the proposed Saranac Lake skatepark, which will be located behind Community Bank on Broadway, next to the Enterprise. He met with members of the Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee, village Department of Public Works Superintendent Jeff Dora and a handful of local skateboarders and skateboarding enthusiasts.
Siedlecki had provided the group with three different concepts - dubbed A, B and C - for the village's skatepark. Based on the feedback the committee has already received from local skateboarders and what Siedlecki heard Wednesday, he said option B looks best.
"We did three concepts that would semi-fit the site," he said. "The idea was to come today, look at the size, talk to the people that are going to help and finalize the design. With option B, there's going to be a mini-ramp, a couple sets of stairs, handrails, Hubble ledges, manual pads, flat bars, parking curbs and some quarter-pipes."
Dora said he thinks the design will work well in the site.
"When you've got the right people who've been in the process, and who've been through obstacles that have probably been bigger than anything you might encounter here - I feel pretty good about it," Dora said. "Brad knows what he's talking about, and he's really got a sense of attachment to the area. I think it's going to look nice. It's going to be an asset to Saranac Lake."
Siedlecki said he thinks this skatepark, even if it's one of the smaller ones he's built, will become a big attraction for the village.
"It's always fun to do something small," he said. "Small is always fun. Skateboarding has to start somewhere. Not everybody has a million dollars. The community here is raising all this money, and congratulations to this community. We're going to be able to give them a quality park that no one in this area has. This is going to attract people from across northern New York to come here to skateboard."
In late May, the village Board of Trustees approved the site of the skatepark, ending an exhaustive search that dates back more than 15 years. The village and the committee are now working out the details of a memorandum of understanding on the operation of the skatepark, construction of which is expected to begin sometime this summer.
The project is expected to cost $120,000 in cash and $50,000 to $60,000 in in-kind services. The group has raised more than $75,000 so far.
Dora said the village will be responsible for removing asphalt from the parking lot, filling the site with sub-base material, compacting it, and doing some minor retaining wall and paving work. After that, he said the project will be in the hands of Siedlecki's company and the committee.