Inside the Avon Skate Coalition’s effort to bring a skate park to Avon |

Inside the Avon Skate Coalition’s effort to bring a skate park to Avon

The group is currently collecting signatures to demonstrate community support to the Town Council and potential grantees

Mark Beresniewicz’s shared love of skateboarding with his son, Bruno (photographed here at the Edwards Skate Park), started him down a path to bring a community skate park to Avon.
Mark Beresniewicz/Courtesy photo

Mark Beresniewicz grew up skateboarding in upstate New York. And after moving to Eagle County in 2000 and starting a family sometime after, he began to share his love for the sport with his son, Bruno, when he was between 6 and 7 years old.

“I’ve always loved it. Skateboarding is one of those things that never leaves you,” Beresniewicz said. “Once you become a skateboarder, you’re always a skateboarder, in some respect or another.”

But quickly, he and his son realized there weren’t a lot of options locally for them to skate.

“I grew up in upstate New York where we skateboarded in parking lots and there weren’t skate parks then, so you kind of made do,” he said. “Here in the valley, there’s nowhere like that. You’re so dependent on parks.”

While the duo are pretty much daily visitors at the skate park in Edwards, Beresniewicz and his son have also spent their last couple summers traveling the state visiting other skate parks, including ones in the neighboring communities of Carbondale, Frisco and Leadville.

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However, living in Avon themselves, none of these options were ideal. The Edwards park has become an extremely popular destination for kids and families across not only Eagle County, but visitors from Denver as well, Beresniewicz said, adding that as it gets busier, it also gets more dangerous.

Mark Beresniewicz started the Avon Skate Coalition as a way to gather community input and begin the process of bringing a skate park to Avon.
Avon Skate Coalition/Courtesy photo

So, Beresniewicz started thinking seriously about what it would take to bring a skate park to Avon and started a Facebook page under the name, Avon Skate Coalition.

“The kids are the most important people in this community,” he said. “It’s just a healthy thing for kids to be outside doing things, not sitting on their phones, being creative and having an outlet — that’s what a skate park brings.”

In addition to adding benefits to the kids in the community by providing them a safe space to skate and express their creativity, Beresniewicz added that in the right location, it could bring new visitors and business to the town.

It was around this time that Beresniewicz linked up with his long-time colleague and fellow community member Amy Lewis, who in addition to working seasonally at Golden Peaks Ski School with Beresniewicz, also serves as the grant administrator for the Education Foundation of Eagle County. Plus, Lewis’ husband and son are also skaters.

When Beresniewicz told Lewis about his idea to bring a skate park to Avon, Lewis was immediately on board, plus she had an idea of where to put it and how to get funds for it.

Lewis had been working on another development idea in Avon and had become aware of a plot of land — adjacent to the old Beaver Creek rodeo parking lot — zoned specifically for community outdoor recreation use, she said in a phone interview on Tuesday. Plus, through her role at EFEC, she knew of a Colorado Health Foundation grant that could help fund the park.

From there, Beresniewicz and Lewis set a meeting with members of the town of Avon staff and council.

“They kind of like the idea, but they have to really weigh all the different options of what this land could be used for,” Lewis said, adding that they also pointed to another plot of land on the north side of Avon that could also work for the park.

Avon town manager Eric Heil, speaking generally about skate parks, said that the town recognizes “that many communities have skate parks and believe a skate park would be an appropriate consideration.”

The challenge, he added, is identifying an appropriate or available site for a skate park in Avon, which the town has yet to do.

The town has, however, identified a couple areas that wouldn’t work, as well as a few that could. Heil noted that the town doesn’t believe there is adequate room in Nottingham Park nor at the Avon Rec Center. However, a “small skate ramp structure could potentially fit at the old Avon Fire Station site,” he said, adding that the town plans to evaluate a multitude of different options for this site in the next two years or so.

Heil did also note that the plans for a park at the Village in Avon — which is what Lewis had identified as a potential location — are still “several to many years” away.

“There are plans for park properties in the Village (at Avon); however, the location and development of parks at the Village (at Avon) is intended to occur when development is determined so that the parks are integrated,” Heil said.

Community support

Following the meeting, Lewis said the town had directed to group to collect some community feedback on the idea. So around three months ago, they started a petition, which has gathered more than 400 signatures.

“We had to do something and that’s our little baby step to try and show that community support,” Beresniewicz said. “I think there’s interest there and the valley is only growing and more and more kids are coming here.”

Comments on the petition support the notion of the skate park, citing the community value it would bring. One such comment reads, “Skating is an incredible outlet, and opportunity for creativity, and expression. When done right, these environments can be life-changing.”

Lewis also noted that they have collected feedback from business owners, specifically those in Chapel Square. She said they have gotten interest from these owners, specifically those at Transition Sports, who have the petition at their store.

The results of Avon’s 2021 community survey also demonstrated that there was somewhat of an appetite for this type of community amenity. In several of the survey’s open-ended questions, residents expressed the desire for a skate park, with comments noting that there isn’t enough for youths to do and others, such as:

“A skate park somewhere in Avon would be a huge addition!”

“Nottingham screams for a skate park!!!”

“The youth and the young at heart deserve a well designed concrete skate park in Nottingham Park.”

Evergreen Skateparks recently helped build and design the skate park in Frisco, a frequented park for Mark and his son Bruno.
Mark Beresniewicz/Courtesy Photo

In addition to community support, Beresniewicz has also received support from Evergreen Skateparks, which recently designed the park in Frisco.

“These skate park companies are super into helping and trying to persuade and tell the town how important these are,” he said, adding that they could also serve as a good resource in obtaining grants to help make the project happen.

Making it happen

Many other mountain communities have skate parks, including neighboring Leadville, where Mark and his son often skate.
Mark Beresniewicz/Courtesy Photo

Right now, the coalition is at a bit of an impasse as they continue to seek additional support from the town, look into funding sources and continue to gather feedback.

Between Lewis and Beresniewicz, they make a good team, Lewis said.

“Mark is more about finding the right companies to build, design and engineer the skate park and I’m more along the lines of, I’ll help figure out how to find the funding,” she said.

According to Heil, next steps for the Avon Skate Coalition should include presenting a description of the group as well as its goals and purpose to the Town Council.

And of course, not all community members have shown just support. Beresniewicz said he’s experienced some apprehension, and moving forward, he hopes to do a more thorough job addressing some of the questions and concerns parents and community members have about the potential of a skate park.

“I think the next step is getting more community involvement,” he said. “People say it’s a great thing, but we need to get them interacting a bit more, right now it’s a little too silent. We have to make ourselves known a little more.”

Part of this includes opening up the conversation again with the town, ironing out some of the details and allowing the public to engage in the conversation as well.

But Beresniewicz is motivated to see it through, hopefully in the next three years.

“I’m 47 and my goal is to get a skate park by the time I’m 50,” he said. “My son would really enjoy it.”

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