Often times skateboarders gets a bad wrap. They catch flack for grinding on curbs and cruising down busy streets. But, unlike snowboarding, there’s no convenient venue to hone their craft; until now.
The Marquette Skate Park officially opened to the public tonight. It was a long time coming, but from the sheer size of the response, city officials agree it was well worth the wait.
“This project truly is a testament to those who had a dream, never losing sight of the prize, and working tirelessly,” remarked Mayor John DePetro of Marquette at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
“About eight years ago, some little kids came up to some adults and said they needed help. They were getting ticketed for riding their skateboards around town. So, a group of us adults said, ‘Well, we’ve got to do something about it,'” explained Nina Weyer-Ittner, who oversaw the project from start to finish. “We gathered tons of different people together. We gathered a bunch of kids. We talked about it. We though about it. We got together and designed what we really dreamed of, which was a skate plaza. Then, we took those ideas off to a company in California that built skate plazas and they actually figured out all the engineering of it. Ugh, it was a huge fundraising effort. When you look at this, the value is well over $300,000. I think we raised well over $200,000 in actual cash. But, there’s still a little debt out there. I’m hoping for a grant that might retire the debt, but it warms my heart. I love it. I mean I love the fact that kids can come here. It’s a city park, so anybody can come here. It’s free.”
Two professional skateboarders from Minnesota, Steve Nesser and Tabari Cook, helped kick off the grand opening with a trick competition complete with prizes ranging from hoodies to hats.