Ready, Set, Skate

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Skate park opens Monday

By Jenna McKenna

The sun is shining on the powder coated surfaces of Chiefland’s new skate court at Delma Locke Park. Passersby can hear the clack of little wheels as thrashers ollie up on the rails and kickflip their way off.

The park officially opens Monday, but area skaters couldn’t wait to be the first to ride the new surface. American Ramp Company designed, built and installed the court for the city of Chiefland; the install was finished Saturday.

Laurie Copeland, City Project Manager, said rules for the use of the skate court are posted all around the park. Most important is the rule that all skaters under the age of 17 must wear protective gear, must have their parents come to Chiefland City Hall to sign a waiver giving their children permission to use the park, and must wear a skate court permit sticker on their helmets showing that their parents have given their permission for their children to use the park. Children under age 10 must be supervised by a parent or legal-aged sibling, and children under 8 may not use the park.

“We provide the parents with a copy of the rules for use of the skate park and ask that they go over it with their children,” she said.

Parents will have a photocopy of their driver license placed in the park use waiver file to verify that they have read the rules of use and agree they are giving permission for their children to participate in “a dangerous activity,” Copeland said.

The skate court was paid for with part of the funds from a FRDAP (Florida Recreational Development Assistance Program) grant, which was also used to place a new basketball court in Strickland Park. Chiefland’s Recreation Committee reviewed offerings from a number of prominent skate park designers before settling on three, who presented their designs to an audience of area skaters. American Ramp Company was chosen because of its high-quality product and commitment to customer service, as well as the company’s clout among skaters due to its involvement in course designs for the X Games.

Copeland said the city will set a date soon for the court’s grand opening, “hopefully on a day when kids are out of school. I’d like to get (American Ramp Company founder and president) Nathan Bemo to come down here and speak to the kids.”

Bemo, Copeland said, is a lot like kids in Chiefland.

“He’s an excellent role model,” she said.

“He’s somebody that always loved to skate, and he just looked for a way to put that into action, so he started the company.”

Chiefland’s skate park is located in Delma Locke Park, on Northwest 4th Drive in Chiefland, behind Chiefland Middle and High School.