Charleston’s Skateable Sculpture, the Key Ramp featured in Two Mags

If you have not picked up a copy of November’s Transworld (p. 162)and The Skateboard Magazine (p. 70), you might want to go out to grab a few copies. Our Charleston key ramp was featured prominently in both. Totally Awesome! Oh and by the way, the cover of that same Transworld is a photo of a Columbia, SC downtown spot – crazy!

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Owens Field Construction Update 091409


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WIS Covers Owens Field Groundbreaking

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Patience is finally paying off for some local skateboarders.

It’s been a long wait, but construction is now underway for columbia’s new skateboard park at owens field.

The organizer that helped get the tony hawk grant to build the park says he hopes this will get more youth off the streets and on a skateboard.

“We’re breaking ground today to what will be the first custom concrete skate park in South Carolina and set the bar for skate parks to come, and set this sight a landmark nationwide,” said Ryan Cockrell of Pour It Now.

The 15,000-square foot skate park facility is scheduled to open by March 2010, less than 200 days away.

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Volunteers Needed for Skate and Create

We need some volunteers for several things for Skate and Create. If interested, please email me at and let me know how and when you can volunteer. See below for dates times etc.

We need volunteers to hang flyers beginning ASAP.

9/10 – hanging the show at 808 Lady Street

9/11 – hanging, prepping, and working the show at 808 Lady Street

9/12 – we need someone to work the show (sit and help customers) from 2-7pm (we can divide this into shifts if you can work part of this time)

9/13 -we need someone to work the show from 2-5pm; then after 5p help cleaning up the show – including packing boards and spackling/painting holes in walls

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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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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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ABC News 4: Civic Action Exhibit Showcases Groups Making a Big Change

Charleston, SC – The ‘Civic Action Exhibit’ showcases the work of about a dozen local groups giving a closer look at the what each one is doing to improve the charleston area.

“The idea of working with various groups that have their own mission or their own vision about how they want to change the city, it may not have to do with urban design, but its still about some of that civic pride and that civic activism that makes for a better community,” Micahel Maher said.

Pour It Now, a skateboard advocacy group is working with the City of Charleston to find a place to build a world class skate park that will give the 5,000 skateboarders in the Lowcountry a safe place to enjoy their sport.
“We want them to understand these kids are brilliant, theyre very creative, intelligent and very skilled, they just don’t have a place to exercise that,” Shannon Smith said.

And Louis Yuhasz of Louies Kids is working to find a solution to childhood obesity and hopes more people will get involved.

“There are 25 million children that are affected by obesity and were just doing our part here in the Lowcountry and trying to bring it to the nation, I think this gives us an opportunity to show people our success here and how were helping kids here climb mountains,” Yuhasz said.

From beautification projects to a push to make charleston more bike-friendly you’ll likely find a cause you care about, and for many it all starts with kids.

In addition to the exhibit, each group will also come in the evenings to answer questions about what each group does specifically to improve Charleston.

“We just developed a program here in Charleston an after school program so were really excited about that, and we have some new things coming up like run-buddies, where well essentially be doing the same thing within this program, but just one-on-one with different athlete mentors volunteers and kids.”

The exhibit opens Friday morning and runs through August 7. The exhibit is free and open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Civic Design Center located at 85 Calhoun Street Downtown.

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Free Times Article: City, Pour It Now Skating Toward New Park

Construction of Facility at Owens Field Could Start This Summer


Ever since a skate park at Owens Field was demolished in 2007, local skateboarders have had to practice their craft on Columbia’s sidewalks and streets instead of one central — and legal — location.
But before the end of the year, skaters in the metro area might finally be able to return to their old skating grounds, which are slated to become home to the only custom-designed concrete skate park in South Carolina.

Local skater Ryan Cockrell formed the nonprofit group Pour It Now in an effort to save the old skate park after City Council decided to tear it down to make way for a track and field facility for Dreher High School.

But after the council’s decision, Cockrell thought local skaters might be better served with an improved park. “Our mission was to show how the city could harness the positive energy skateboarders have and use it to build something beneficial like [a new park],” Cockrell says.

City Council, in a partnership with Cockrell and other local skaters, agreed to support the idea. In June 2008, the council approved allocating $500,000 from the city’s hospitality tax revenue for construction of a new park.

Pour It Now has raised an estimated $35,000 for the project — $10,000 in donations and a $25,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation.
Damon McDuffie, a city park planner, says he hopes construction will begin in the next few months. McDuffie says he plans to evaluate bids from construction companies and recommend one to City Council in July.

While some council members were hesitant about a new park at first, they eventually opened their arms to the skating community thanks in part to enthusiasm and support among local skaters.
“I thought Ryan made a good case to the council,” says Anne Sinclair, a former councilwoman who championed the issue. “He showed us there was a niche that needed to be filled, and the council thought we could do our part to fill that gap.”

A mother of skateboarders, Sinclair says she believes that there should be a wide range of recreational opportunities available to residents. “People might find skateboarding more interesting than team sports, so we owe it to them to provide numerous wellness, fitness and sporting opportunities,” she says.

Cockrell was surprised to see such a warm response from council members. He says he recently discovered that skateboarding is the fastest growing sport in the country and he believes that the new park will help Columbia’s estimated 5,000 skaters flourish.
“Columbia has really embraced the idea of skate parks,” he says. “I’m glad to see them encourage a positive activity instead of just putting it down.”

In its work to raise money and build support for a new park, Pour It Now has fielded a presence at the Rosewood Crawfish Festival and other local events and distributed donation jars at stores, including skate shops and Manifest Discs & Tapes.

One of the group’s newest fundraising efforts is Sk82O bottled water, which it has been selling at events and hopes to distribute in local grocery stores. Proceeds from sales of Sk82O go toward the new park. “This is something we came up with on our own and we’re really excited and enthusiastic about getting the product out there,” Cockrell says.

Skate and Create, an annual showcase of artwork created by skaters, is one of the events Pour It Now sponsors in an effort to shed a more positive light on the sport.
“We do Skate and Create to show how skating can be a creative outlet and open the eyes of people to another side of skateboarding,” says David Toole, event coordinator for Pour It Now and developer of the Skate and Create gallery.

Bluetile Skate Shop, a Harden Street store Toole owns, became an unofficial hub for skateboarders following demolition of the old park. Toole says the skaters who frequent his shop are tired of having to dodge police and are ready for a new park to be built. “These kids have had to skate in abandoned, unsafe warehouses in gang territory, so of course they want a safe place to go and ride,” he says.

Wally Hollyday, a nationally known skate park designer, sketched the blueprint for the new park. Hollyday came up with the initial design and asked local skaters to provide their input on how it could be improved.
“The desire is there, the kids are ready, and I’m sure they’ll be coming from all over,” Cockrell says.

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