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Decatur skaters pushing to see refresh of McKoy Skate Park


Decatur skaters pushing to see refresh of McKoy Skate Park

Skaters in Decatur put stickers on their favorite skate park design and elements on to inform the renovations of the McKoy Skate Park. The city held a community meeting on Thursday, April 13, at the Decatur Recreation Center. Photo by Zoe Seiler.

Decatur, GA — Decatur skaters are hoping to see a total refresh of the McKoy Skate Park. The city and American Ramp Company gathered feedback from the Decatur High School Skate Club and others during a community meeting on Thursday, April 13. 

Greg White, Active Living Director, said the city added the skate park to McKoy Park in 2003. The existing equipment is now 20 years old. 

The skate park was built in December 2003 with Woodward equipment. Woodward has gone out of business and replacement parts and equipment are not available.

“…This is a widely known and highly used skate park by our community members, so our budget should allow for the replacement of all 13 equipment pieces in the park,” said Sara Holmes, Active Living assistant director of recreation, at a city commission meeting in August 2022. “American Ramp plans to start the renovations with a virtual civic engagement workshop with residents and skaters to develop a community-based plan.”

She added that the same surface will still be used and there are some concrete benches at the park that will likely stay where they are.

Once the plan is finished, American Ramp Company will install the new equipment in the park, and the project is expected to take about six months. 

On Thursday night, White said that the most exciting part of the project has been seeing the Decatur High School Skate Club come forward and make a pitch to the city. 

“This is your project. I’m behind the scenes,” White said. “I want this to be a voice for our young people in this community.” 

The Decatur City Commission voted in 2022 to renovate the McKoy Skate Park for $190,000, with funding coming via a $200,000 donation from an anonymous donor. But after the contract was approved, members of the skate club said the proposed renovations weren’t enough. 

The skate club said the park needs concrete structures instead of prefabricated ones because concrete structures are more durable. The skate club even offered to raise additional money to pay for the needed upgrades.

At its Feb. 21 meeting, the Decatur City Commission approved a $175,000 change order, bringing the total contract with American Ramp Company to $365,000.

American Ramp Company has met with the Skate Club to walk the park and get an idea of what obstacles they want to see remain or see removed. 

“We’ve gotten to skate at a lot of really neat and cool skate parks all over the world throughout our career,” said Cody McEntire. “I think that what we try to do is we take a little bit of elements from each one of those skate parks and try to incorporate that into the designs that we do or cool street features and things like that.”

During the meeting, American Ramp Company displayed three potential design options. Attendees were invited to place a sticker on their favorite overall design, and place other stickers on their three favorite obstacles. 

The consensus was a simple design that featured basic elements and would be an option where beginner skaters could learn, but advanced skaters could also have fun. 

One of the Decatur High School Skate Club members said that a lot of skaters utilize the park, but the equipment is not up to par for how many skaters use the park. 

The skaters were happy to see progress being made on the project. 

“We started it because we all skate, and we all go to Decatur,” skate club member Heath Rowland said. “We thought it would be a good idea to have a club that we can all go and meet before we go out and skate after school. We also thought it would be good leverage for the city to get the project going.”

He added that the obstacles in the park need to flow. There’s not much the skate club would like to see remain at the park. 

“We would rather get a fresh start rather than having to work around what’s already there because if we leave anything in there, they’re going to have to plan around that,” Rowland said. “You can have all the things you want, but if it’s not in the right position, then you can’t skate it.”

Christian LaGon, another member of the skate club, said the park has potential. 

“I’m looking for progress, looking to get a great park and lights,” he said. “It’s not really pushing the limit right now. It’s a great opportunity.”

LaGon and fellow skate club member Pete Dishman agreed that they would like to see hips, ledges, stairs and a flat bar. 

“I think all the basic stuff is the stuff we should focus on,” Dishman said. 

At the Feb. 21 city commission meeting, the skate club, led by Julian Berman, promised to help the city maintain the park. 

“We want you to know we are committed to being a strong partner,” Berman said. “We will use and care for the park and help advance this sport in our city among younger kids. If the club had a quality park, we could host workshops to introduce younger kids to the sport and hopefully recruit a few girls. While diverse, we are an all boys club right now. We think we are the first high school skateboarding club in the state of Georgia. We are proud of that.”

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