Skateboard Park Groundbreaking Held

Skateboard Park Groundbreaking Held

City's first park for skateboarders will open in July.

Alexandrians came out on Father’s Day to participate in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the city’s first skate park.

"The first because I believe there will be others in the years to come,” said Carol Freeman, the chairperson of Friends of the Skate Park, the group of citizens that has been spearheading the fund-raising efforts.

Sunday’s groundbreaking was the culmination of nearly three years of work. “Mostly from the kids,” said Judy Noritake, the chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Committee. “The first meeting that we held on the skate park, there were more than 40 young people who wanted to talk to us about the need for such a park. We heard them, City Council heard them, and here we are.”

The tune they heard hummed to the sum of $200,000 in funding from the city, approved for the FY ‘03 budget, last spring. “We said that we would provide this much funding and that the funds for equipment had to be raised privately,” said Mayor-elect William D. Euille. “They have raised the $50,000 that they were supposed to raise and more.”

MUCH OF THAT money came from the sale of raffle tickets. The prize was a Toyota Matrix, donated by Jack Taylor Alexandria Toyota. Taylor has been instrumental in the efforts to get a skate park because his back yard had become one.

“The equipment was in his back yard, and the kids were skateboarding on city streets,” Noritake said. “We needed to do something about that.” There are two other corporate sponsors in addition to Alexandria Toyota: Weichert Realtors and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Each corporate sponsor has pledged $2,500.

The winner of the car was Jane Yeingst, an archivist at Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. The winner of a skateboard, which was also raffled off, was Sean Lymann, whose band provided entertainment for the ceremony. He plans to learn to use it.

The skate park will open in mid- to late July, depending on the weather. It is located at the corner of Duke and Quaker Lane, at Luckett Field.