Skateboarders in Baltimore were trying out their holiday gift on Monday. The final touches on a new skate park in Hampden were completed last week.
“It was a long time coming. Over 10 years of planning, and we finally got enough funds to do phase II,” said Joe Fitzpatrick, board member of Skatepark of Baltimore, the non-profit that has been working to create a free and open park for the estimated 30,000 skaters in the city.
Phase I, which was the installation of a state-of-the-art concrete bowl, wrapped up in 2014. Phase II, which broke ground in the fall of 2016, was completed this month.
“It wound up being $445,000 or something like that and that was city funds matched by state bonds, which actually Catherine Pugh when she was a state senator she got through, so that's rad that she's mayor now, We hope we can continue that relationship in the future and get some more parks going,” said Fitzpatrick.
After nearly two years of fundraising, planning, and several months of construction, the group was able to transform the 11,000 square feet of asphalt into a skate park that mimics obstacles in the city.
“Ledges, there's bank ramps, there's quarter pipes, there's stairs and handrails, there's a little bit of everything, so you can kind of learn to be a more well-rounded skater but also skate what you want to skate,” said Ian Graham, another member of Skatepark of Baltimore.
The grand-opening isn't until May, but already skaters and bikers were taking advantage of the upgraded park.
“It's really great. There's all these different ramps and it's safe and there's no cars and skaters are really nice and they all respect each other and it's just really cool for him to learn,” said Kristin Herber, who was at the park with her 9-year-old son James.
Next comes phase III, which will include the installation of lights. The park is also open to anyone from beginners to pros.