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Northville Township skatepark designers want input from residents

 Northville Township skatepark designers want input from residents

Unity Skatepark will be built on Six Mile Road in Northville Township, across the street from Northville High School.

Northville Township invites the community to share its vision for the design of the future Unity Skatepark Jan. 24. The meeting is at Township Hall from 5:30-7 pm. California-based skatepark designer Spohn Ranch will be on hand for this public forum to understand what the community values in its skatepark. Residents are encouraged to participate in the open discussion, express their wish list and ask questions.

Each park it designs is influenced by public opinion. The number of ramps, halfpipes, spines, transitions, grind rails, tables or other design features will be shaped by Northville Township residents and the local skating and wheel sports community.

Conducting a live poll about the terrain preferences and a group sketch of the skatepark also is on the meeting’s agenda.

“This is an extension of the grass-roots nature of this project and a valuable tool for making sure the design reflects the unique preferences and demographics of Northville’s wheel sports community,” said Vince Onel, co-owner and design director of Spohn Ranch.

‘We are all ears’

“We are all ears about what exciting features the Northville Township community wants to see at this future amenity.”

One unique element to Unity Skatepark at Millennium Park will be a memorial to honor Township resident Dominic Duhn, whose tragic death from a hit-and-run while skateboarding inspired this attraction for the community’s benefit. Family, friends and the community came together to raise funds to bring together today’s youth to enjoy all of the benefits wheel sports offer.

“One of the great uniters of skateboarding is you don’t have to be a traditional athlete to enjoy it or excel at it,” said Northville Parks and Recreation Director Debra Bilbrey-Honsowetz. “It’s now an Olympic sport and more importantly, there are so many physical and social benefits to participating.”

An example of a Spohn Ranch-designed skatepark.
An example of a Spohn Ranch designed skatepark

They include improving balance, coordination and muscle development. “It’s also fun, so it helps reduce depression and stress, while building confidence and it gets people off their screens,” she added.

Depending on the design, the size of the skatepark may be about 10,000 square feet. Projected costs are $600,000.

Northville Township has committed $150,000 to the new asset, along with $83,327 it received from the Wayne County Parks millage allocation and the land at Millennium Park. The City of Northville has committed $8,123 from its Wayne County Parks millage allocation. The balance of $359,000 was raised through various supporters and fundraisers hosted by the Dominic Duhn Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization.

Designer’s work plentiful in Michigan

Spohn Ranch has constructed nine parks in Michigan, including those in Garden City and Milford. Two others are in the process.

“Because of this, Spohn Ranch has a discerning ear,” Director Bilbrey-Honsowetz said. “It knows what features other skateparks have locally, so it will be able to help ensure that our Unity Skatepark is a unique, exciting experience for western Wayne County.”

Northville Township will break ground on Unity Skatepark at Millennium Park this spring with an expected completion date in late summer 2023.

For those who can’t attend the Jan. 24 meeting, an online input survey to weigh in on the design will circulate on social media after the meeting.

“We are excited to hear the community’s input on this new amenity,” Director Bilbrey- Honsowetz said.

Township Hall is at 44405 Six Mile at Sheldon roads.

Thank you to Northville Township Communications and Grants Manager Rene Wisely for contributing this article.

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Ed Wright

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