Local skateboarders head to the park - in other cities

October 30, 2003|LIZ MAPLES

Barbie Sirimongkhon and Mary McKenzie know how to make their children's day. They pack lunch, pile them up in a van and head for a skatepark.

They make the trip several times a year, but not as often as the skaters in the family would like.

The moms hope that one day the trip will be much shorter - the day Danville finishes its own skatepark.

There are at least nine skateparks in Kentucky, including the extreme park in Louisville that is one of the largest outdoor parks in the country. Others are located in Somerset, Dayton, Owensboro, Henderson, Maysville, Winchester, Lexington and Florence.

Danville City Commission budgeted $50,000 to for a skatepark this year, but no plans for a location or equipment have been finalized.

Commissioner Jamey Gay, who led the effort to get the park money, said he plans to talk to the Parks and Recreation board about putting the facility in Millennium Park on the site of a proposed bike park. Gay wants Danville's park to be open for skaters, rollerbladers and bikers.


Winchester, a city with 16,700 residents, has a $50,000 outdoor skate area in one of its parks.

Ed Burtner, city manager, said that the community has responded well and that they haven't had any problems.

"There's been no problem with vandalism, no more than there is with other parks," he said. There are gates to the park and gates encircling the skate equipment. Burtner said the gate was puta in for insurance reasons.

The city had public hearings to decide a location and which pieces of equipment to buy. The park has moveable, concrete pieces of equipment on a concrete pad.

It is a similar set up to the one that Gay proposed for Danville.

Bardstown is nearly ready to build its park.

Donna Paschal is the director of parks and recreation for the city of 10,300. They plan to buy four pieces of equipment and install a concrete pad in an existing park.

"We would rather have them in a park setting than in the streets," she said.

The city plans to add to the skate equipment every year.

In Bardstown, a skate group formed and raised $3,500. Their goal was to raise $25,000. They did receive a Tony Hawk grant for $7,500. Hawk is a professional skater.

Sirimongkhon and McKenzie, who lives in Burgin, will likely make a trip to visit the Bardstown park when it is open. On a recent day during fall break the parents took their skaters to Florence. The city has a privately owned indoor park and the city has an outdoor park.

There is a long list of rules at the city's park and it is built near the police station. One local teen, Jeremy Belknap, said that the police harass them regularly, but he said he was still glad to have somewhere to skate.

As Sirimongkhon watched, her sons tried out the concrete bowls. She said she thought that Luke and Dillon enjoyed skating, as opposed to organized sports, because it was something they could do on their own time.

"I don't have to take vacation; all I have to do is bring them to a skate park and they're happy," Sirimongkhon said.

She wants the parents of other skaters in the area to make an organized push for Danville to begin work on its skatepark.

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