Skate spots complete

Published 9:33 pm Saturday, March 19, 2011

The new “skate spot” at Lake Meade Park behind Farm Fresh on North Main Street was devoid of skaters during the school day Friday, but likely perked up once 3 p.m. hit. It is one of two new skate spots that opened recently.

Skaters in the city now have two new places to perform their tricks.

The city’s new “skate spots” at Lake Meade and Bennett’s Creek have been open for a couple weeks. Ribbon-cutting events are planned in the coming weeks.

“We felt like we needed to do a grand opening for both of them because they’re so new,” said Terry Baronner, parks manager for the city of Suffolk.

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The newest amenities in the parks are designed to be easy enough for beginning skaters but challenging enough for advanced skaters, Baronner said. Both are about 3,000 square feet.

“The one in Bennett’s Creek is actually a bowl type of park,” Baronner said. It does include a few rails and other obstacles.

“The one here at Lake Meade is street-style,” he said. “It’s a little more for the advanced skater. They are both made to accommodate all skaters, but the amenities they have are a little different.”

After a bid process, the California-based Spohn Ranch company, which specializes in skate park construction, was chosen for the projects. The process hit a number of delays, including a decision to redesign the parks and an unusually cold, snowy winter.

“It was cold, so they couldn’t get out and pour concrete,” Baronner said. “Once they got started, they got in there and finished everything up.”

So far, Baronner said, the parks have been extremely popular.

“We’re averaging about 50-100 kids on the weekend,” he said.

Signs posted at the skate parks indicate that use of the facilities is at the users’ risk and that the city assumes no responsibility for injuries at the park. They also state that all skaters are required to wear a protective helmet with a chin strap, and strongly recommends other safety gear, including closed-toed shoes.

While the concrete and obstacles are complete, a handful of amenities like sidewalks, benches and trashcans still need to be added before the upcoming ribbon cuttings.

Both events will be held at 10:30 a.m., with the Lake Meade event scheduled for March 26 and the Bennett’s Creek event set for April 2.

World-renowned skateboarder Tony Hawk — whose foundation also granted money to help with the parks’ construction — donated 10 skateboards and 10 helmets to be given away at the events. Other drawings and giveaways also are scheduled.

Radio station Hot 100.5 will be at the events, as well as the 17th Street Skate Team doing demonstrations. Refreshments will also be served, and open skating will be allowed at the event.

Lake Meade Park (the KidsZone community playground) is located at 201 Holly Lawn Parkway, behind the Farm Fresh on North Main Street. Bennett’s Creek Park is at 3000 Bennett’s Creek Park Road.