Pop-shove-it! Charlottesville Skate Park re-opens in McIntire
After more than a dozen years in its original location, the Charlottesville Skate Park has ollied over 250 and landed in McIntire Park, but the best is yet to come, says Charlottesville Parks and Rec head Brian Daly, who's preparing to put out an RFP for the new skate park construction.
"We want to be sure that we're seeking out and hiring a recognized skating design firm," says Daly, who notes there's plenty of room for creativity in the two-acres designated for the skate park as part of the McIntire Park master plan.
The new temporary home– a fenced area adjacent to the playground and wading pool area– is smaller than the former location at the corner of McIntire Road and Route 250, and while most of the ramps made the move, the largest feature– a bowl– was not up for travel.
The skaters there on Monday afternoon, March 4, weren't complaining.
"It's nice to have a place to skate with friends in a safe environment," says 16-year-old Monticello High School junior Liam Van Sickle, who says he and others were concerned that the city would simply shut the skate park down in the interim between the construction of the McIntire interchange that forced the closure of the old skate park on February 18 and the completion of the new skate facility, which could be a year or more away.
"We'd just go skate the streets, and they don't want that," he says of the city's final decision to build a temporary fenced facility that will continue to be supervised by a city employee during operating hours.
Unlike the former location, the new area isn't lighted, so operating hours are limited, at least until longer daylight hours arrive. Currently, the park operates from 2pm to dusk– around 6pm, and the closing time will extend as the sun stays out later. Weekends, the park will open at noon.
According to a city memo from city budget and management analyst Ryan Davidson, the eventual cost of the facility could reach $1 million. Its scope, it seems, will make it one of the premier skate parks in Virginia if not beyond.
This summer will be the wading pool's last, and Daly says the playground will be relocated to make way for the expanded skate park, leaving the sloping area just across from the Covenant Lower School for ollies, kick-flips and pop-shove-its.
"I think we have some unique opportunities there given the topography," he says.
Van Sickle, taking a brief break from high-flying maneuvers on a sunny afternoon, thinks it'll be worth the wait.
"In a few years," he says, "it's gonna be really nice."