By Johanna Ferebee
Since opening Saturday Feb. 26, the newly minted Ogden Skate park has hosted a daily slew of returning visitors. Following eight months of construction and sustained community support, the park is now open to the public everyday from 8 a.m. to sunset.
“This is my third time. I went Saturday, Sunday and today,” said Kieran Rowlee, a 6th grade student at St. Mark Catholic School.
The highly anticipated and long awaited concrete playground was funded by New Hanover County, a student fundraiser at Eaton Elementary, a $25,000 donation from the Tony Hawk Foundation and online donations.
“It’s amazing, the flow is really good, there’s the street and transition part which I really like,” Rowlee said. “It’s a really good park. You can go around, it’s not all back and forth.”
Riders of all ages were thriving Tuesday afternoon, with those aged thirteen and under required to be accompanied by an adult. “I’m with my mom,” eleven-year-old Rowlee said. “She’s rad.”
Designed by the Seattle-based Gridline Skateparks, the park includes street, transition and vertical features. This array of options allows the park to cater to skaters, bikers and inliners of all styles and influences.
Tyler Duke, a freshman at Laney High School and “vert” skater, thinks the park is well rounded.
“Around town, there are mainly little ramps compared to this,” Duke said . “It’s got really nice, good ramps. Some people say there’s not enough street, but there’s street over there.”
Before Ogden’s skate park opening, local skaters would travel to Carolina Beach Skate Park, Greenfield Grind Skate Park and The Skate Barn in Hampstead, NC.
“I’ve lived here my whole life, probably a mile from this spot,” said twelve-year-old Brannon Dixon. “We’ve always thought they should build a skatepark here and they actually did.”
Dixon has visited the park every day since Saturday’s opening and plans to continue now that the location is close to his home.
“Its way better than i thought it would be, said Dixon. “I just think it’s super awesome.”
More than fifty skaters shared the smooth bowls, ramps and rails tucked away on Ogden Park Drive behind the park’s many soccer, football, and baseball fields.
With so many returning visitors, local skaters only had one complaint.
“The only thing is there’s too many people,” said Xavier Smith, a freshman at Laney High School.
In time, skaters hope the crowds will subside so that they can ride without the wait.
For additional information on the park, visit http://parks.nhcgov.com/ogden-skatepark/ .