On The Boards : Site Engineering & Surveying at the New Valpo Skate Park | Valparaiso, Indiana

Rendering of the upcoming Flounder & Friends Skatepark in Valparaiso, Indiana. Site engineering and surveying provided by Abonmarche.

What does a community skatepark look like today?

Valparaiso, Indiana is reimagining what’s possible as it brings a modern skatepark experience to a new generation of skate enthusiasts — and a new community gathering place for residents and visitors to enjoy as the city of Valparaiso continues to thrive and expand.

Our team in Valparaiso has served as the engineering force supporting the project, and we’re excited to share that the site’s stormwater improvements kicked off earlier this spring.

This new skate park is such a fantastic development project to be a part of,” notes Matt Keiser, engineering project manager at Abonmarche. “The experience of moving through the process of designing the necessary stormwater improvements and site surveying – it’s extremely rewarding to know that our engineering work beneath this new park is what supports all of the action going on above ground.”

A formal groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, April 18, kicked off new phases of the project and unveiled the new skatepark’s name – Flounder & Friends Skatepark.

“With purpose, this park will welcome people with adaptive needs, with purpose this park will welcome people of all ages and skill levels, and with purpose this park will welcome residents and friends of Valparaiso,” said Kevin Nuppnau, assistant director of Valpo Parks, during the ceremony. “We’re not just saying it, we are building it, and it starts today.”

Members of the community of Valparaiso and project team members broke ground at the site of the upcoming state-of-the-art Flounder & Friends Skatepark in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Abonmarche project team members Lara Brown, Matt Keiser, and Tara Boyanski helped kick off new phases of the skatepark.

Flounder Skatepark — A New Community Experience

As in every community redevelopment project, the City of Valparaiso hosted an in-depth community engagement effort to understand what people wanted from a new skatepark experience, what was important to them in the park’s features and location, and how the park might bring residents and visitors together in a way that most skateparks fail to do. To maintain the project’s vision and ensure the skatepark becomes a reality, a task force was established among the design and engineering teams, Valpo Parks, and local skate enthusiasts.

In contracting a designer for the new skatepark, the City of Valparaiso reached out to Valparaiso native and X Games Course Design Dug Ketterman, of DugOut Design Studio. Ketterman, a venerated skate park and course designer who has designed some of the world’s most beloved skate experiences, has a special connection to his hometown’s original skatepark.

As a 16-year-old in the mid-1990s, Dug and his friends came to the city of Valparaiso to find a way to design a place to skate. They helped the city design and construct the skatepark, piece by piece. The finished design was named Flounder Skatepark in honor of Dug’s friend Ray “Flounder” Wampler, who was killed in a car accident on his way to school one morning. The first Flounder Skatepark stood from 1998 until 2020, when it closed due to its level of disrepair and unsafe conditions.

Valparaiso reconnected with Ketterman after 20 years to lead the design of a new park in a better location. Once built, the new skatepark will again carry the Flounder name — and will inject the same passion that Valparaiso area skaters bring to their art.

Nestled in the Heart of Valparaiso

To host the site of its new skatepark experience, Valparaiso and its design partners conducted a thorough site review and analysis—eventually selecting a section of its existing Fairgrounds Park. This was a significant departure from the old skatepark location, which was nestled deep into a 122-acre hiking park on the city’s north side; in contrast, the new location, in the center of town and along one of the city’s main thorough-fares, was chosen for its visibility and walkability within the community.

As part of Fairgrounds Park, the new skatepark will be enveloped by a 3/4 mile walking track and situated adjacent to 4 softball fields, a playground, a community pavilion, and a Life Trails System, designed to help adults ages 50+ with functional fitness.

Valparaiso’s park and recreation options are ideal; with more than 700 acres of parkland spread across 17 parks, 27 athletic fields, 14 children’s playgrounds, and two golf courses, people in every corner of the city have a unique park experience to call their own.

With the old skatepark in disrepair, the decision to design a new one came with new opportunities: to create an accessible state-of-the-art skatepark and to shape a citywide gathering place for people from all walks of life.

Abonmarche’s Lara Brown, Tara Boyanski, and Matt Keiser attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Flounder & Friends Skatepark in Valparaiso, Indiana. The project is engineered by Abonmarche.

A Modern Skate Experience for All

During an extensive community engagement effort, the design team identified the community’s top desires, then created a design that could be implemented in phases as funding becomes available.

The new skatepark will feature spaces for skateboards, bikes, scooters, and skates — with an emphasis on user-friendliness for many ages and abilities, including beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels. Future phases of the skatepark design will feature a dedicated beginners area along with adaptive features for athletes in wheelchairs.

Ketterman’s design inspiration is “centered around the Golden Spiral, providing a harmonious aesthetic while encouraging growth and inclusivity around the world. We have designed a park that not only meets the needs of the community, but also redefines what is possible…”.

Space to Gather

Flounder Skatepark’s holistic design will reach beyond the city of Valparaiso to become a regional hub for the skating community — creating space for people of many interests, ages, abilities and locations to gather — to have fun, to be active, to learn, and to share in both failure and success. Building a skatepark as a space that will nurture the community of Valparaiso will spread benefits to many other communities across northern Indiana and beyond.

Design: DugOut Design Studios

Site Engineering & Surveying: Abonmarche

Advocacy: Driftwood Collaborative

The groundbreaking ceremony saw an excellent turnout by Valparaiso community members, sponsors, and other project partners.

Contact Us today to learn more about our practice.

The State Revolving Fund: An Abonmarche Expertise

Wastewater improvement is an expensive, time-consuming investment that does not happen often.

Indiana’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) program provides low-interest loans to Indiana communities for projects that improve wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. This program helps to protect the environment and public health.

Indiana’s State Revolving Fund (SRF) can unlock valuable funding for your large-scale projects, and Abonmarche can help get the ball rolling. Using the SRF is a great way to understand your community’s needs and vulnerabilities, start making changes, and begin to plan for the future. Taking advantage of the SRF is a great way to finance your community’s projects, and Abonmarche can provide the engineering, surveying, architecture, and structural engineering services to support those projects.

About the SRF

Eligible candidates include cities, town counties, regional sewer/water districts, conservancy districts and water authorities. As of recent, nonpoint source projects are also included in this. Specifically, these eligible candidates must apply for this with only projects where there is an existing pollution issue. The money for this program comes from each specific state applying for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency annually for capitalization grants.

Wastewater projects may include:

  • Treatment plant improvements and upgrades
  • Sewer line extensions to existing unsewered properties
  • Combined sewer overflow corrections
  • Infiltration/inflow projects.

Drinking water projects may include:

  • Treatment plan improvements and upgrades
  • Water line extensions to existing unserved properties
  • Water storage facilities

Nonpoint source projects may include:

  • Wetland protection and restoration measures
  • On-site sewage disposal systems
  • Best Management Practices for agriculture and stormwater runoff
  • Riparian Buffers and Conservation Easements
  • Wellhead and Source Water Protection measure.

Projects not eligible for funding:

Private and not-for-profit facilities are only eligible for drinking water SRF Loan Programs. Additionally, projects that are solely intended for economic development, that are primarily for fire suppression, and/or that have no water quality benefits are not to be considered eligible.

How Abonmarche Can Help

The SRF loan is useful for communities that have large projects requiring funding and completion assistance. Abonmarche can service these communities throughout the entire process, including applying for the funds, creating and sealing the required Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) and associated forms completion. We’ll be able to provide solutions, alternatives, and preliminary designs based on the PER findings. Asset management plans for the system are also required to apply for SRF, and the engineering team at Abonmarche is well-equipped to handle the in-depth nature of water asset management plans.

Abonmarche SRF Services Include:

  • SRF Application Management
  • Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) and Forms Completion
  • Asset Management Plans
  • Surveying & Engineering associated with the project
  • Construction Inspection

Our SRF Projects Happening Near You:

  • New Chicago Water Works – System Improvements
  • Town of Demotte – I-65 Drinking Water & Wastewater Utilities Extension
  • NORWEJ – East Side Drinking Water Expansion Improvements
  • Benton Harbor, MI – Pipestone Area CWSRF & DWSRF System Improvements

To learn more about how Abonmarche can help bring vital SRF funding to your community contact our Valparaiso office at (219)850-4624.

Team Spotlight: Janice Mueller, CADD Tech

Janice Mueller, a CADD Tech at Abonmarche, has been with our firm for more than 20 years, making her one of our resident experts on all things Abonmarche.

  • Early Bird or Night Owl: Early Bird
  • Coffee or Tea: Tea
  • East Coaster or Out West: Out West
  • Favorite Travel Spot: Havasu Falls, an area of waterfalls on the Havasupai Indiana Reservation located in the Grand Canyon, Arizona
  • Creative Outlet: Needlepoint of rock concert tickets. I’m working on one from a Rolling Stones concert that my husband I went to a few years back.
  • Favorite Stones song: Start Me Up

How did your career first take shape?

I earned my degree in Interior Design from Purdue University, and I spent a few years doing corporate and residential design in Fort Wayne.

How did you make the shift to CADD?

At the beginning of my career, there was no CADD; we were all drafting. I went back to school and earned a second degree in CADD at Southwest Michigan College (SMC), and my next-door neighbor, worked at Abonmarche, heard that I was studying CADD. Shortly after that, I started as a CADD Technician at Abonmarche, and I never left!

From your view, what is the most noticeable change in the industry?

The precision in technology is the biggest change I’ve seen throughout the years. When everyone was beginning to make the jump from drafting to CADD – that felt like such a huge shift. Before, you could never draw that precisely. The technology we now have at our fingertips is incredible.

What is your area of focus at Abonmarche?

I work with our surveying and land development teams, as well as with builders and contractors who build homes.   I collaborate with a client to position each house on its lot correctly, taking into consideration a number of competing factors, such as zoning requirements, easements, drainage, municipal services and natural slope of the land for septic design.  Many times, it’s in a subdivision that our own team has designed and developed which is really neat to be able to work on.

When people hand you the plans for a new home, it’s a really rewarding experience to be able to look at the land and the work that needs to be done to create that home, and help manifest that reality for them.

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