Two new skate parks coming to Arlington

Posted Saturday, Jun. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Kicking up speed on the concrete pad, Tanner Lewis jumped and slid his skateboard along the low metal rail at Randol Mill Park in one smooth motion.

Lewis, who lives in Hurst, said he has been driving to the north Arlington skate spot the past two months whenever he has a day off work. A skater for the last seven years, 19-year-old Lewis said he appreciates that Arlington offers skaters a free, well-designed space to work on board tricks without being chased away by property owners.

“I really like the setup they have here,” Lewis said, pointing to features that mimic the slopes, curbs, rails and other hard edges that skaters seek out at shopping centers and along streets. “It’s more street. A lot of skaters are looking for that.”

The Cody Rocamontes Memorial Skate Park, which opened at Randol Mill Park earlier this year, is one of 30 skate parks of various sizes that Arlington plans to build during the next several years. Construction is already underway for a small skate spot at Burl L. Wilkes Park in east Arlington; meanwhile, a 21,000-square-foot, $1 million skate park at the centrally located Vandergriff Park is expected to open in January.

Skaters say they have been pushing for city-sanctioned skating spots for years.

“It’s about time. Kids are tired of getting kicked out of places. They need a place to do this,” skate park advisory board member Erik Shires, a longtime skater said. Shires, 38, said that he looks forward to taking his 7-year-old son to a city park to skate.

A 2,500-square-foot plaza-style skate spot at Burl L. Wilkes Park, near New York Avenue and Park Row Drive, is expected to open in late July or early August, said Jason Landrem, park project manager. The city’s second skate spot will include a rail, grind box, banks and other skateable features.

The skating amenities are not the only improvements planned for Wilkes Park, Landrem said. The city will also add a six-foot-wide looped walking trail, a pavilion, new picnic tables and barbecue stations, irrigation for the open field areas and a new surface for the playground area.

In June, City Council approved a $968,700 contract to build the first phase of a large skate park at Vandergriff Park in central Arlington. Work on the park, which will be east of the Allen Bolden Pool, is set to begin in August and to be complete by January, Landrem said.

Arlington voters approved $500,000 for the skate park in the 2008 bond election. The rest of the project is funded by the city’s natural gas lease revenue.

The city held three public meetings, largely attended by skateboarders, to come up with the park’s design, Landrem said. The first phase will include features such as a snake run, a flow bowl, rails, stairs and skateable art.

“It’s going to be built with all levels of skateboarders in mind, from the beginners all the way up to the old schoolers and the more advanced,” Shires said.

The city is planning a second 20,000-square-foot expansion at Vandergriff Park as funding becomes available, Landrem said.

“I’m stoked,” Lewis said. “Everyone loves going to a big skate park. Kids can make an entire day out of it. It’s really awesome the city is doing that.”

Susan Schrock, 817-390-7639 Twitter: @susanschrock

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