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Published: Friday, 7/25/2003

City ready to roll with skate park construction

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

It's gonna be 'crete, dude, with gnarly ramps, grinds, and pipes, and no charge for the sesh.

In other words, the city of Toledo is about to build a free skate park with a concrete bowl and an assortment of state-of-the-art ramps and obstacles.

Mayor Jack Ford announced the start of construction of the $513,908 skate park at Highland Park at South and Woodsdale avenues.

The 17,000-square-foot complex, including a pavilion, picnic tables, and security lighting, should be complete by October, the mayor said. Highland has a wooden skateboard ramp known as a half-pipe: two curved ramps about six feet high.

Boys using the ramp yesterday said they're ready for something with more features.

“It'll be good if they put some street stuff into it - stairs, rails, and concrete walls,” said Josh Snoderly, 14, who lives nearby. He wants to try BMX bike-riding on the new facility when it's built.

His brother, Michael, 12, said local skaters will benefit. “We'll have people to learn off that's better than us,” he said.

“We will see a transformation here at Highland from a park with one skate ramp to an entire complex that will attract skateboarders from all over,” Mr. Ford said at a groundbreaking earlier in the day. He predicted competitions, backed by sponsors and money prizes.

The park will have facilities for beginner, intermediate, and advanced skateboarding and in-line skating.

It will have a poured concrete bowl for continuous skating or bike-riding. And it will have a series of freestanding ramps, decks, and half and quarter-pipes. The ramps will be made of steel and a composite surface material called Skatelite-Pro.

It also will have a street course with walls and rails, known as grinds, designed to mimic the stairs, walls, railings, and planter boxes that skateboarders like to use in public spaces.

Mr. Ford said Highland Park was selected because of the available space. He predicted its location, several miles from downtown, would not be a detriment.

“You can access this park from a lot of neighborhoods. Many kids may come by skateboard,” Mr. Ford said.

Councilman Bob McCloskey, whose district includes Highland Park, said it was selected because of the recent activity by neighborhood groups to renew the Highland Heights area.

“We wanted an area with a lot of children and where noise wouldn't be a factor in the neighborhood,” he said. He added that the existing skate ramp is well-used and has not generated the injuries that were feared.

The project cost is $298,220 for construction, $81,854 for skate equipment, $47,330 for general site improvements, $59,191 for site furnishing, and $27,313 for the pavilion. The money is in the city's capital improvements budget approved this year by City Council.

The general contractor is Kohne, Inc. The concrete ramps are designed by Suburban Rails, of Athens, Ohio. The freestanding ramps are made by Huna Designs, Ltd., of Lewisburg, Pa., to standards approved by Woodward Camp, Inc., Woodward, Pa.

The park will be the second conceived by the mayor as a “destination park” to attract people into Toledo from outlying areas. The first was the accessible play area at Walbridge Park that was unveiled June 30.



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