Thursday, July 18, 2013
A little more than a year ago some 60 or more kids and adults showed up at a committee meeting for the Summerville Parks and Recreation to ask for a skateboard park.
For the next few months, while neighbors railed against the idea, and town council members mulled it over, and Mayor Bill Collins pushed for it to happen, the kids themselves worked tirelessly to raise money to put toward the new park. After all, they had pledged to raise between 5 and 10 percent of the overall cost.
Last July, they proudly handed the Mayor a check for $652 … their first installment on that pledge.
Tuesday, they saw their dream fulfilled as more than 40 or so young people, skateboards and helmets in hand, crowded into the new park for the opening ceremony.
“The day is finally here!” shouted Mayor Collins to an excited and enthusiastic crowd of kids, parents, officials and media.
“I want to thank all the skateboarders who got behind this,” continued Collins. “They put their money where their mouth is and made it happen.”
In a show of mutual admiration, Bill Ridenour, owner of the Inland Skate Shop, spoke for the skateboarders and praised Collins.
“Without Mayor Collins’ support and hard work this…wouldn’t have happened. He and Doyle Best, manager, Parks & Recreation, they made it happen.”
The crowd cheered.
Barely waiting for the ribbon to be cut the skaters threw their boards to the ground and jumped on not waiting a moment longer to try it out. Anyone walking across to get outside the fence did so at their own risk.
Whooshing and whizzing the kids tried every bit of the structure, sometimes falling, sometimes succeeding…the common thread was the big grin on each and every face.
Max Nolan, 12, of Summerville thought the park might still need a quarter pipe to get up speed, but otherwise it is “pretty good.”
Todd Brown, 17, of Ladson said “I like it ‘cause it’s free and it’s outdoors…I can get fresh air…I’m serious! It is healthier. It’s also different than any other one I have been too, different obstacles.” Brown says he has skated at Charleston (which is indoors and costs $10), West Ashley and Hanahan (prior to it being torn down).
William McKeon, 13, of Summerville likes it because it’s free.
“It’s sick,” he said. (The current vernacular for “cool.”)
“I hope,” said Collins, “these kids have learned that persistence, patience and a lot of work…makes things happen. That’s government.”
Collins cautioned the skaters to make sure they take care of the park and that no issues arise. “Take care of it!”
“It’s a good day for Summerville,” he concluded, “Just don’t expect me to hop on one of those skateboards!”