City of Bristol seeks Corps permit for renovation of Rockwell Park in Bristol
Mass. – The City of Bristol, Department of Parks and Recreation, is seeking a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to conduct work in waters of the United States in conjunction with the renovation/enhancement of the Rockwell Park
in Bristol, Conn.
The proposed work includes the discharge of dredged or fill material into 2.17 acres of Federal
waters/wetlands with the overall purpose being the renovation/enhancement of the 103.3-acre Rockwell Park, a city landmark
that is on the National Register of Historic Places.
The majority of the work involving fill placement in wetlands/waters
will be in the location of a former lagoon at the park. Originally, a large impoundment existed on the north side of the Pequabuck
River extending from the existing pond on the east to the former beach area.
In the 1960s, the central portion of
the pond was filled in to allow for the construction of playing fields. Rockwell Park continued to have two impoundments separated
by playing fields through the 1980s; however, water quality in the western impoundment began to deteriorate due to the presence
of bacteria. Despite warnings and signage to the contrary, residents continued to swim at this location, so in the 1990s,
the city drained the western impoundment to prevent swimming. The former impoundment (also known as the former lagoon) has
not been modified or treated since that time.
The applicant is proposing to convert the former lagoon’s
western portion into an open water pond, with the wetland on the eastern portion being enhanced into open water scrub shrub,
emergent marsh, and wet meadow wetland communities to provide an array of diverse habitats. A discharge channel will be created
through this area to a new outlet structure discharging into the Pequabuck River.
Boardwalks and stone dust paths
will be constructed within the enhanced eastern portion in order to provide educational and recreational opportunities for
the public. The open water pond is proposed to have a water depth of approximately 9.5 feet, sufficient to reduce the potential
for rooted aquatic growth from sunlight penetration. The pond has been designed with adequate flushing rates which, along
with the seasonal placement of two electric aerators, should ensure that eutrophic conditions do not develop. The proposed
activities in the former lagoon involve 2.02 acres of the 2.17 acres of work associated with this project.
work involves the placement of fill in Federal wetlands/waters and includes: the placement of riprap scour protection at the
Dutton Avenue and Tulip Street bridge crossings of the Pequabuck River and reconstruction of the stone obelisks flanking the
Dutton Avenue bridge; the replacement of an existing flared end section discharging to the river; and the stabilization of
80 linear feet of an eroded unnamed tributary northwest of the former swimming area with natural river cobble.
application for the federal permit was filed with the Corps of Engineers in compliance with Section 404 of the Clean Water
Act, which regulates the discharge or fill of material in United States waters, including wetlands. The Corps public notice
can be reviewed online at the Corps website http://www.nae.usace.army.mil. Select Regulatory/Permitting and then weekly public
Public comments referencing this permit request (File # NAE-2005-3256) should be forwarded no later than
Feb. 23, 2007 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District, Regulatory Division (ATTN: William Mullen), 696 Virginia
Road, Concord, MA 01742-2751. Additional information is available from Permit Project Manager William Mullen at 978-318-8559
or toll free 800-343-4789 or 800-362-4367 (if calling from within Massachusetts).
"New park for skaters expected to open
BRISTOL - The city's long-awaited skate park is expected to open next month in Rockwell Park.
"We're moving right
along with that," said Ed Swicklas, superintendent of parks. "By October, I am hoping that we have a skateable park."
skater standards, what Bristol is building is impressive, according to Bill Helene, northeast regional director of the nonprofit
Skaters for Public Skate parks.
"It's gonna be a gem, absolutely," Helene said, who has been monitoring the park's progress.
who lives in Milford but comes to Bristol a couple times a week on business, said the fact that the new skate park will have
elements of both streetscape parks and bowl parks is exciting.
"It incorporates a broad range of features," Helene said,
including rails, ledges, banks and stairs on the "street" side and something that looks a lot like an empty swimming pool
on the "bowl" side, with depths from five feet to nine feet.
Some skateboarders prefer the bowl, Helene said, and others
the street design.
This park, Helene said, provides "enough to satisfy both disciplines."
Swicklas said the Bristol
park will be "first rate" and great for those who enjoy the sport.
"It'll be one of the best ones around," Swicklas said,
who said it will have features that can accommodate any level of skateboarder, from beginners to the most advanced.
enough elements to keep everyone moving along," Swicklas said. "It's a blend of everything."
Swicklas said he hopes skateboarders
will take care of the park and discourage anyone who would vandalize it.
As a group, Swicklas said, skateboarders are "pretty
Keeping it in good shape will add credibility to the project and the skateboarders who use it, according
to Swicklas. He said it may help convince some people that having a skate park is a good thing.
"Change is hard in town,"
Swicklas said. "This is foreign to a lot of people in town."
Helene said the bowl design will draw older skateboarders,
which he said would benefit the park.
Helene, a 46-year-old skate park advocate who has been skateboarding since the 1970s,
said he scrubbed away some graffiti from the skate park in Milford. He said he's not alone in his feelings.
don't want taggers in their park," Helene said, who said the people who use the skate park may well protect it from vandals.
"They take a sense of ownership and pride. It won't stand. This park has a very high potential for that ownership and pride."
$500,000 skate park, part of the renovations at Rockwell Park, is being built by California Skate parks, a prominent company
that has built more than 130 such parks around the country.
"They add to the legitimacy of the park itself," Helene said.
"That matters to the local skateboarders."
The 16,000-square foot concrete skate park will be located on the site of the
former basketball court and parking lot. The basketball court is being relocated to the other side of the parking lot, behind
the center field fence of Muzzy Field.
Unlike a lot of skate parks, Helene said, the one in Bristol will be in an especially
"It's landscaped, which makes it attractive as a public space for nonskaters as well as skaters," Helene said.
skate parks are typically less expensive and easier to build, Helene said, adding that is why many towns have them.
young skateboarders aren't familiar with the bowl, Helene said, but he said after a few months, they'll be all over it.
a swimming pool, the bowl will have a band of tile around the edge, Helene said, and smooth concrete beneath that. He said
the designers even included a couple of open rectangular spaces in the tile where the water would drain in a real pool.
call a space like that a "death box," Helene said, and love doing tricks around them. He said they're a "fun feature" in a
Helene said he wears protective equipment, including a helmet and elbow and knee gear. He said he urges
young skaters to protect their heads.
"I always suggest a helmet," he said.
The average skateboarder is a 15-year-old
boy, Helene said, who said about one in six youths between the ages of 10 and 20 take part in the sport.
According to Helene,
skateboarding is about on par with basketball and soccer for the rate of injuries.
Most injuries are minor, Helene said.
He said in 2006, there were 50 deaths in North America from skateboarding. Of those, only two occurred in skate parks, he
said, and both of those were adults who weren't wearing helmets. Most of those who died were skating in the street and hit
by cars, he said.
The biggest danger to a skateboarder is traffic, Helene said, and the best protection is a skate park.
want 'em off the street," Helene said, "and the way to do it is to offer a more compelling alternative."
To see the skate park under construction check out the renovations section of the site.