Monday, April 29, 2013
McKinney’s new skate park wins over residents in first week open
All skate parks are not created equal.
MCKINNEY Visitors to Gabe Nesbitt Community Park in McKinney last week were greeted to new attractions: ramps and rails.
The new skate park cost $2 million and was approved by McKinney voters in 2010. Since its opening April 20, hundreds of skaters have taken advantage. It's early, but initial reports have been positive.
"This has a good mixture of everything," said Preston Oberlender, a 15-year-old McKinney Boyd student. "It is a little bit smaller [than some parks] but it has a lot of street stuff other parks don't."
Dylan Cotton, another 15-year-old Boyd student, said the park has elements for skaters of all ages. He said the street plaza, which features handrails and park benches similar to what you would see in an office park, is his favorite portion of the 30,000-square-foot park.
Bicycles are not allowed at the park, but skateboards, scooters and rollerblades are welcome and all were represented in the park's first week. All ages were also there, from pre-teens riding scooters to middle-aged men showing off their skills at the vertical portion of the park.
Lemuel Randolph, McKinney parks director, said the park has been a long time coming, and he is excited it's finally a reality.
"The park took seven years to complete," he said. "We started meeting with a local group of middle and high school students who were interested in the city building a skate park. The idea was that we provide a lot of facilities for organized team sports, but not every kid plays team sports. Skating is a very popular activity for those who like solo pursuits."
Voters approved bond money for the park in 2010, which allowed Randolph and his staff to begin the design process. What they learned from parks in Allen and surrounding cities was that not all skate parks are created equal, and that diversity was the key to a successful park, a fact not lost on skaters like Cotton and Oberlender.
The park is geared toward skaters, but Randolph said all parks in McKinney are built so everyone can enjoy them. He said he envisions families eating meals and enjoying the shade and landscaping of the skate park, even if they're not willing to brave the rails and ramps.
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