The new sports and active recreation park, the Forest, occupies a city centre location at 43A Riga Street, site of the existing Valmiera skate park. The site is situated on the busiest street in the city, making it a safe and accessible destination for anyone who enjoys outdoor activities. The leafy green setting gives the park its name, inviting you to forget about the daily rush amid the rustle of the wind in the trees. Project planning began in autumn 2019 and construction commenced in April this year, with the park opening in November.
Some traditions have survived. The Forest still plays host to the skate park in the same place it always was. But now it is much safer and more exciting. The multi-level 1,096 m2 concrete paved skate park is suitable for riders of different levels. It offers most of the basic features needed for skateboarding, while maintaining a dynamic sense of spaciousness.
The new park will also play an important role as a location for education and training. Starting this school year, Vinda, the Valmiera youth centre, will be offering a unique ‘extreme sports’ education programme. Children from 7 to 16 years of age are invited to participate in the programme, which will help them acquire skills in extreme summer and winter sports, access safety training and develop their physical fitness. Children can master the basic skills of skateboarding, roller skating and cycling at the Forest, in a programme led by certified roller skating coach Marta Garā, who graduated from the Latvian Academy of Sport Education and also coaches alpine skiing. A keen sportswoman since childhood, she has mastered several winter sports, as well as represented Latvia in various roller-skating competitions abroad.
Fans of skateboarding, cycling, roller skating or riding a scooter will love the 170 m long cycling track. Designed with embankments of various heights, curves and cleverly arranged platforms, allowing the riders to build up speed by playing with gravity and body weight. The track is fully paved, suitable for riders of all ages and levels of proficiency.
The smallest visitors to the park will love the playgrounds – with different types of swings, steps for balance training, a crawling net, a slide, a trampoline and other elements. Several new playground elements are still to come. Right next to the playground, there is a fitness area featuring outdoor fitness equipment, allowing parents to enjoy sports while watching their toddlers play, or for a family to use the equipment together. In this part of the park, there are pull-up bars, parallel bars, a table tennis table and other equipment – all you need for a decent work-out session.
There are five entrances leading to the Forest, and a network of footpaths connecting the various functional areas of the park. A specially marked track for skateboarders is integrated into the footpath. The part of the site where the children's playground was previously located now features a lawn and a picnic area. It is important that surface water in low-lying areas naturally drains into the green areas of the site, and so a local rainwater collection system with slopes and gullies has also been built. In order to reduce the environmental impact of the park and avoid creating additional microplastic pollution, wood chip mulch has been selected as the surface covering for sports courts and playgrounds. Where this is not possible – on the slope near the slides, small amount of rubber cover is used.
The Forest is built on an area of 11,152 m2. We’re grateful to our residents for sharing their thoughts on what they wanted from a new sports and active recreation park in Valmiera! Thanks to their input, we have been careful to ensure that the area does not get overheated, so there is shading available. There is a public drinking water tap in the park, and the need for appropriate lighting was taken into account during the design stage. The park offers amenities that will be convenient for families with young children, and disability access needs have been carefully considered.
On the slope next to the Eži bike shop and the building of the Valmiera judo school, there are spectator stands and a court of about 200 m2, which is suitable for streetball games and other events.