Misremembered money sparks ministorm

Mayor corrects funding statement

NASHUA – What was supposed to be a positive development for the city, the start of construction on a new skateboard park near Stellos Stadium, has sparked controversy over the funding of the park.

Mayor Jim Donchess told The Telegraph earlier this week that the $500,000 in funding to build the new David W. Deane Skatepark comes mostly from fees generated by a cell tower near the Taylor Falls Bridge. However, Donchess now says he forgot about a resolution from 2013 that spent $270,000 in city funds on the project.

“That’s something I didn’t recall,” Donchess said Thursday.

Former Alderman Fred Teeboom, who is suing the city over an unrelated matter involving the spending cap, said Donchess’ statement from earlier this week highlights the city’s failure to get someone else to pay for the park.

The old skateboard park off Bridge Street is being moved to make way for a large-scale housing development. Teeboom said the developer, Renaissance Downtowns, should be paying for the new park, and not the taxpayers.

“Where was the mayor, the Board of Aldermen, the Business Industrial Development Authority, the fundraising to protect taxpayers’ money?” Teeboom said. “Easier to hit that easy and convenient mark, the ‘taxpayer-sucker,’ while keeping him in the dark with misrepresentation.”

Deane, for whom the skateboard park s named, said there is no smoking gun here, but simply a spending resolution from four years ago that slipped from memory during a newspaper interview.

“There’s no grassy knoll here, there’s no one trying to mislead anyone,” Deane said.

The new park is on Stadium Drive near the Public Works garage. It occupies a space about 175 feet long and 130 feet wide in a spot close to Stellos Stadium, the YMCA of Greater Nashua and the boat ramp on the Nashua River near the Mine Falls Park gatehouse. There will be about 50 parking spaces at the park.

The park features several curving bowls and terrain for skaters. There is 450 feet of drainpipe to remove water. About 4,000 yards of cement and Shock-Crete, which is sprayed on a reinforced steel rebar grid, will be used in the project.

The city also has a smaller park on Ash Street, across from the Nashua Police Athletic League headquarters and community center.