Skateboard Park Becomes Reality in Huntington
The city of Huntington is developing a new downtown skateboard park.
It’s been idea that’s been in the works for quite a while. Or better yet, a dream that skateboarders thought they’d never see realized. At a reception yesterday in Huntington, officials broke ground on a skateboard park that is just the beginning for skaters. Charles Holley is the executive director of the city’s department of development and planning.
“I guess it goes back to the 80’s and 90’s where there was quite a few individuals skateboarding in the city and our Mayor Bobby Nelson actually had the engineering department look at creating mobile ramps that we could take from place to place and they held several skating events on what was the plaza and over on cruise avenue,” Holley said.
Holley said from there the idea of a skate park began to gather steam and then in about 2005 the idea came up again. And over the last couple years the idea took off with the help of private donations, grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation, community development block grant funds allocated by city council.A After bidding out the skate park for construction, initial bids came back high at $295,000. So the project was put out for bid a second time – and the city was able to meet the $202,000 proposed contract.
In 2008 a Master Plan was developed for Harris Riverfront Park in downtown Huntington. Holley said it seemed like a natural fit to put the skate park at Harris Riverfront Park.
“It had always been kicked around a bit that hey let’s put the skateboard park over there, it would be a perfect opportunity to have it somewhere downtown, we want it downtown, we don’t want it hidden off somewhere away from everybody we want to be right in the middle of everything,” Holley said. “So it really started to pick up some steam with that master planning process, the opportunity anyway was there for us to get it in some official document and get it official recognition.”
The first phase, which they broke ground on yesterday, is expected to be completed by the end of the year. Holley said through recommendations they’ve realized these initial components of the park should be easy enough for beginning skaters. Holley said they’re already fundraising for the next two phases of construction, and those shouldn’t be as costly. Those additions will include more advanced features like a bowl that advanced riders could use.
Holley said he’s been surprised by the amount of support for the park from different parts of the Huntington community.
“It’s tremendous the amount of support that we’ve seen behind this skate park, you know I’ve been here a long time, actually since 1978 and I’ve never seen any project draw such a diverse crowd of funding,” Holley said. “So there’s truly a ground swell of support from city council, from the developers and designers and all the way down to the skaters.”
The park is projected to be finished by the end of December.