In a huge win for the community, Charlottesville has a skate plaza forming: A 2 million-dollar skate plaza, to be exact. With its location inside a pedestrian park, it’s an unusual landmark for the city. But for the skate rats of Central Virginia, it’s a welcome one.
The city’s previous skate park on McIntire Road sat in a parking lot, equipped only with a particle board half-pipe, a wooden bowl, a few quarter-pipes spread out, and some transitions in the mix. It gave locals a legal place to skate without worries of being kicked out, but it was definitely dated.
Now, driving past the construction zone inside McIntire Park on route 250, you’ll see the crews hard at work. I spoke with Mark Scott from Dreamland Skateparks, the cement ramps specialist for the new Charlottesville project. So far, he said, cement bowls are complete and the crew is moving forward. They’re focusing now on finishing the upper part of the park — full of cement quarter-pipes, a hubba ledge, a rust-colored cement volcano, and a few stair sets. Freshly-poured cement will glide across the entire park floor, creating a sleek, smooth, ultimate surface for all types of wheels.
With a smile, Scott told us how well the cement bowls skated. It’s all thanks to his team’s expertise.
After speaking with project workers Vic Garber and Duane Brown, I was able to get a better idea of the park’s current stage in construction and what’s still on the horizon to complete it. Garber is McIntire’s Parks and Recreation Division Manager, and Brown is Freestyle Board Shop’s skate- and snowboard-buyer, as well as a longtime member of the McIntire Skatepark Committee.
According to the team, first and foremost is funding, and the park’s lighting is at the top of the list. The light poles and wiring are already installed, but purchasing state-of-the-art LED lamps will cost a pretty penny.
Freestyle hosted a “Light It Up” event on Saturday, September 29th, to raise money for the lights. The skate community will take donations towards the park and provide food and shirts for purchase to fund its completion. For those who couldn’t make it out, there is still an opportunity to donate through the CharlottesvilleArea Community Foundation online. You can keep up with the park’s construction at their Facebook page.
The park isn’t quite open yet. With a completion date penciled-in for this December, the park’s still got a lot of work to be done. The team would love to hear more from the skate community on your thoughts surrounding the new park — what you’re excited most for, ideas about the local community, and anything else on your mind — so shoot over an email to [email protected] to get in touch, and spread the word.
More photos of the park’s progress to date are below — check ’em out.