Ann Arbor's skatepark took years of planning and fundraising to become a reality. Almost four months after opening, city officials and skateboarders agree it was worth the effort.
On a recent afternoon despite chilly October winds, 40 to 50 kids and young adults were zipping through the concrete bowls, flying over steps, and sliding along the rails of the skatepark.
Parks Planner Amy Kuras says in the first several months the park has exceeded expectations. "Trying to find recreation for that demographic has been a challenge over the years, and honestly I had no idea whether skateboarding was going to be here to stay, and I'm thrilled with how much use it's getting and how much of a regional draw it's become," Kuras says.
According to Kuras the skateboarders have even done a good job taking ownership of the area by removing trash and getting leaves out of the bowls. Ian O'Harris skates at the park as often as his work and class schedule allows. He plans on making sure the park can be used year round. "I'd put my money on it that we're going to be shoveling snow," O'Harris says.
Crowds of unsupervised teenagers and young-adults on skateboards could be cause for concern, but Sydney Hardy from Saline hasn't noticed any issues for Nathan and A-J, her six and eight year old sons. "Everything seems fine. I was a little worried with them being on the younger side, but everybody seems to you know be respectful and not a lot of swearing or anything like that. So we haven't had any problems yet," Hardy says.
The skatepark is located in Veteran's Memorial Park and is open from six in the morning until ten at night.