Skate store wants to manage town skate park at the marina
FAIRFIELD — With the chance to manage the town’s skate park on the line, Day One Skate Shop is busy raising the funds it needs for liability insurance.
Day One, which is now housed at 25 South Benson Road, was one of only two companies to bid on the park management. The second, Bridgeport-based Rampage Skates, withdrew its bid at the public opening.
For managing the skate park, located at the South Benson Marina, Day One would pay $1,050 in 2018, $2,100 in 2019, and $2,020 in 2020.
While the bid has been awarded, Recreation Director Anthony Calabrese, no agreement has been finalized or signed yet. The liability insurance policy would have to be in place by the time of the signing, he said.
Having an outside company in charge of the skate park, which opened in 2009, is something new.
“I was interested in finding out if there was any interested from a private company to come in, and pay us rent to manage the park, while also assuming the liability for the park,” Calabrese said. Since it opened, there has been no fee to the use the South Benson skate park.
“The town was paying to insure the park and paying approximately $25,000 in staffing annually,” Calabrese said. “These were costs that I was looking to reduce, and is what made us begin exploring the idea of leasing the park out.”
Under the contract, Day One could charge admission, but both Calabrese, and the gofundme page for the insurance, indicate the shop does not intend to impose any admission fees.
As of Thursday, Day One had raised $7,539 of the $15,000 needed for the insurance policy, according to the fundraising page. The page, https://www.gofundme.com/jennings-beach-skate-park-insurance, sponsored by Day One’s owner Kerry McCullough, states, “We intend on keeping the facility free and will be providing lessons, camps, demos, contests, and many other events. We need help from the community to launch this new era. If you donate $25 or more we will give you an honorary Day One t-shirt for your support.”
In an interview, McCullough said the idea is to basically move the store to the skate park, and make money through offerings like private lessons, camps, and other events. “That’s where we can build off of any type of revenue stream,” he said.
He’s passionate about not charging to use the skate park that was built with public funds. In the past, McCullough said, the skate park was often closed. “Any other skate park in the state, except maybe Westport and Greenwich, is free, and open from sun up to sun down,” he said. “The town wants to have a monitor there because they’ve had some incidents. We’ll fulfill that duty, as well do programming and retail.”
McCullough said they have received an insurance quote, and would need to pay the premium by Feb. 21.
“I believe that this will be another good example of a public/private partnership for the town,” Calabrese said. “As with all our concessionaire contracts, we kept this one short-term in length.”
The contract is for three years, with two optional one-year renewal terms.
The park would be required to be open from April 1 until after the Thanksgiving each weekend, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with hours extended to 7 p.m. during the summer months. They are allowed to provide lessons, promotional events, and competitions, but cannot install any permanent structures.
McCullough said he is currently looking at using a shipping container as the retail space, which he believes would meet the contract requirements.