Skaters put new equipment to the test

July 12, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

They skated it; now everyone gets to vote on it - new equipment for the skatepark in Millennium Park.

Three companies - Skatewave, Bluegrass Recreation and Premier Playscapes - brought their wares to the old Save-A-Lot parking lot Friday so local skaters could give it a test run. There were ramps, quarter pipes and a pyramid fun box. The companies had laid out hacky sacs, stickers and key chains, all irresistible goodies in the skate community.

Local skate activist Dillon Sirimongkhon played Jack Johnson and Tom Petty covers on his guitar under a Stith Funeral Home tent. He plans to come out with a new T-shirt design. The last motto, "Have A Heart Build A Skatepark," is old school now.

The park will be built by mid-August on a concrete pad paid for by the county. The city has approved money to buy the equipment. There will be a community-build to install it.


Now Sirimongkhon has his eyes on a non-profit club called Danville Skate Crew. Profits from club membership and fundraisers such as pizza, soda and T-shirt sales, and a garage sale would go to help skaters buy helmets.

The city is set to vote on the equipment bids on July 26. Because all of the companies' bids came so close, ranging from $46,000 to $49,000, the city has set up an online poll for skaters to vote.

The tryout gave skaters an opportunity to try out a bit of each of the companies' offerings.

"It helps to know what you're going to get, you know, how good the stuff is going to be," said Brad Hardin, 13.

Manuel Story, 13, impressed a lot of the skaters there. He has been skating for two years. He said he hopes that the park will help keep the kids off the street and the police from thinking skaters are vandalizing property.

The Harrodsburg teen may have two parks to skate soon. His own community has agreed to look for funds to build a skatepark.

The Danville park only became a reality after a community-wide debate about its location. The original, cheaper location was Jackson Park, but neighbors there said it could be dangerous for kids and wanted their park to stay quiet.

Local skaters met with the neighbors and gathered signatures for a petition to build in Jackson. One of the skate equipment companies still had Action Jackson Park slogans on its bid.

Still, Mayor John W.D. Bowling and Commissioner Chester Kavanaugh said publicly that they wouldn't vote to put the equipment on an abandoned tennis court at Jackson park.

Then the county offered to help put in the concrete pad in Millennium Park and the entire City Commission voted to accept bids on the equipment. Now it's up to skaters to vote for they equipment they like best.

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