Cambridge skatepark completion slated for late fall; work surpasses halfway mark

Cambridge Chronicle
By Sara Feijo



Construction for the long-awaited skatepark at North Point in East Cambridge is slated to be complete in late fall, according to the Charles River Conservancy.

“We are more than halfway done. We’re done with the majority of work in remediating the brownfield,” said spokesperson SJ Port. “Most of the work going forward focuses on the skatepark construction and finishing touches.”

The Charles River Conservancy broke ground on the 40,000-square-foot Lynch Family Skatepark earlier this year after 15 years of talks and planning. The family-friendly park is located next to the Zakim Memorial Bridge under the I-93 off-ramp in North Point State Park, a former brownfield controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

In the coming weeks, crews will pour shotcrete cement in the park’s three bowl areas, which are designed for varying abilities, from beginners to professionals. They will then install specialized features such as banks, quarter pipes, a flat bar, a grind ledge, handrails, stair sets, transitions, a plaza, an ashtray, and a ramp, according to Port.

“The skatepark has been designed to attract athletes of all levels, accommodating skateboarders, BMX riders, in-line skaters, scooter riders, and athletes in wheelchairs, and it will serve as a venue for professional skating events,” Port said.

The skatepark was designed based on the input of skaters who participated in numerous workshops. Action Sports Design, now part of Stantec, developed the final design, which accommodates highway administration requirements and includes replica features of unique skating areas in the Greater Boston area. The goal, Port said, is to pay homage to Boston’s skating community.

“Among the place-makers represented is a Boston Medical Center bank and a two-dimensional version of Nancy Schön’s Tortoise and Hare sculpture, both popular skating spots in Boston,” Port said.

The skatepark aims to maximize green elements throughout design and construction, including systems that promote the natural treatment of storm water run-off and native landscaping, according to Port. The finished park, she said, will include three bio-retention areas.

“Careful consideration has been made to develop the site in a manner that ensures the ecological integrity of the adjacent Charles River and blend aesthetically with the existing surrounding parkland,” Port said.

The conservancy’s general contractor, ValleyCrest, hired a California-based subcontractor, California Skateparks, to work on a $2.5 million portion of the project. But the state’s Department of Industrial Accidents issued a Stop Work Order last month due to a missing section of the California Skateparks’ workman’s comp insurance binder on the job site.

According to Port, the issue has been resolved and ValleyCrest has employed local union members in addition to its own workers following protests last month, when local union workers complained about the contractor’s decision to hire non-local workers to construct a large portion of the park.

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Contact Chronicle reporter Sara Feijo at or follow her on Twitter at @s_fjo.


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