Archive for July, 2009

Blythewood Town Park Final Plan / New Blythewood Meeting Dates

The final Blythewood town park plan has been completed. In the design the skatepark takes up 20,000 square feet. It has been moved to behind the lake. This is not the design for the skatepark, but the overall plan for the town park. However this is a large step and it means the skatepark will be a reality. I will post a picture of it as soon as I can.

POUR IT NOW, Blythewood has been conducting their meetings at Blythewood High School, but during the summer months this is not a possibility. So we will now begin holding our meetings at Groucho’s in Blythewood on the second Sunday of each month at 3 pm. The next meeting will be August ninth. I hope to see a good turnout!

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Post and Courier: Local Skate Parks Carve Positive Niche in the Community

Local skate parks carve positive niche in the community
By Samantha Test
Special to The Post and Courier
Thursday, July 23, 2009

Skateboarders don’t see the world like everyone else does.

Stairs are not a way to go up and down, rails are not for maintaining your balance and empty swimming pools are not something to be refilled. They are obstacles on which skateboarders perform, let loose, express themselves and unleash their creativity. They are the means for an entire way of life.
Unfortunately, not everyone sees the same thing. And not everyone can agree on the art of skateboarding.

That’s why there are skate parks.

The three in Charleston are making everyone happy and benefit both skateboarder and community: Ackerman Park in West Ashley, Mount Pleasant Skatepark and The Park in North Charleston. They are providing skateboarders with a place to go as well as a place to call their own and to just have fun, the point of skateboarding.

“Having a skate park benefits you. You get to do what you love to do without being harassed,” said founding partner of The Park, Jonathan Dixon. “Here, it’s a family feel, a backyard feel. Everyone here knows each other and takes care of each other. It just giving kids a place to go. You get to go someplace and do what you love to do.”

Dixon remembers when he was a teenager in Greenville and the fun he had at the city’s newly built skate park. He knows firsthand the benefits of giving youth an outlet for their energy and passion.

“Charleston didn’t really have anything for kids. It’s a beautiful city and nice to cruise around, but kids didn’t really have a place of their own: built by skateboarders, for skateboarders. It’s where you make your friends,” he said.

“My main goal is to make sure kids have as much fun as I did when I was a kid and that skate park was a huge part of it. I made friends for life; because of skateboarding, you have these bonds for life. I just want to give kids a place of their own, a place they can feel comfortable when they come in every day and have fun.”

Mark Friedrich, recreation specialist for the town of Mount Pleasant’s recreation department, agrees.

“It provides a supervised setting, protected from vehicle traffic, for skating and learning to skate. Parents know that their children have a safe, supervised area to skate available,” he said. “As with other athletic facilities, they provide an environment to participate in and master the skills of their sport, improve physical fitness, relax and interact socially.”

Providing skateboarders with safe, adequate facilities just like any other sport is just as important to Ryan Cockrell as it is to Dixon and Friedrich. He’s executive director of Pour It Now, a South Carolina skate park advocacy group.
“We’re a dedicated group of volunteers helping the city harness the positive energy that skateboarders posses and provide recreational opportunities for skaters. Skateboarders outnumber participants in most traditional sports,” Cockrell said.

“The main thing is skateboarders possess an extreme desire to participate in their activity and whether there are facilities or not, they will find a way to skateboard and that can mean negative consequences.

“In every sport, you need to provide adequate facilities for what’s going on. Skate parks, if they’re nonexistent or too crowded, then the skateboarders go elsewhere and recreate where it’s inappropriate. Potentially it’s an organic way to control skateboarding traffic in your city. It’s better to provide facilities that attract skaters out of the streets and into the park.”

By allowing skateboarders an appropriate place to go, they also reap many other benefits. Cockrell explained that skateboarding is so much fun, skaters don’t realize they’re exercising or building life skills.

“I think part of it is that freedom and lack of rules. It’s a goal-oriented, patience-oriented activity and that’s a part of why it’s so fun: you don’t feel like you’re participating in a sport. You don’t have to show up on time, you go at your own pace, your own style. There are no coaches telling you where and when and why and how to do it,” Cockrell continued.

“It’s part sport, part art, part culture. You get a lot of rewards from the amount that you work. That’s a natural, addictive feeling – that feeling of accomplishment. From a basic trick up to the most technical tricks, you have that exact same feeling of accomplishment. You earned it. That ability to practice and understand the pay off of continuing to work at something transfers into your daily life and builds life skills.”

As with any other activity, skateboarding also keeps skaters out of trouble.

“There are some kids that if they did not have The Park, they would be out getting in trouble,” Dixon said. “They say idle time is the devil’s tool. There’s so many kids that instead of getting in trouble, come to the park and skate.”

Dixon, a former school teacher and police officer, has plenty of experience keeping kids out of trouble. Running The Park and being there on a daily basis has made him a role model for many young skaters.

“Sometimes what you say has a bigger impact than parents,” he said. “I have parents that will ask me to talk to their kids if they’re having trouble in school or with their girlfriend or other kids are smoking and they don’t know what to do.”

The positive environment that skate parks provide has been invaluable for many skateboarders. Friedrich, Dixon and Cockrell all agree that skateboarders are some of the most creative, motivated, dedicated and upstanding youth in the community.

“Some people may feel that skateboarders are undisciplined or not interested in academics,” said Friedrich. “We employ two skaters to work our skate park and teach skateboard camps. Both are honor students in high school, one at Wando and the other at the School of the Arts.”

“If you’re a kid, you should only be worried about enjoying life,” Dixon said.

And that’s something everyone can agree on. So in the words of Dixon, shut up and skate.

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Skate and Create Columbia 2009

Gallery 80808 in The Vista
September 11-13, 2009 – Opening Night Friday September 11; 6-10pm

Go ahead and put it on your calendar, because you do not want to miss the fourth installment
of Skate and Create. The art this year has reached an amazing level of sophistication and beauty. Paintings, sculptures and other beautiful works of art using skateboards as media will be sold in order to raise funds for skateparks in Columbia, SC.  As usual this is a free show.  Don’t miss opening night where The Columbia Society for Preservation of Soul will be spinning records.

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Columbia City Council Approves Bid for Owens Field Skatepark

This morning the members of Columbia’s City Council unanimously voted to approve the city staff recommended bid for the construction of Owens Field Skatepark. This is an awesome moment for Columbia and for South Carolina. City staff will now coordinate the schedule for construction with the winning bidder, AOS and designer, Wally Hollyday. With any luck we could be skating by Fall!

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