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Skatepark Preparations to Begin Soon, Boone Greenway Skatepark Coming Summer of 2019

Recess owners J.P. and Ashley Pardy are building a skatepark in Boone.

By Hailey Blevins

After a year of planning and getting approval from the Town of Boone, Recess Skatepark is finally closing in on beginning construction for a new skatepark. To be called Boone Greenway Skatepark, the skatepark with be off the greenway on Casey Lane, near Watauga High School. Recess owners J.P. and Ashley Pardy are looking forward to getting a head start on construction this fall.

They first began the journey to the skatepark’s approval around last August. “We hit the ground running. It was so good having somewhere to finally go. And then losing it, the timeframe for me wasn’t really something that I wanted to wait on. So, obviously, it’s just what our community needed, so it was like how can we do this,” J.P. said.

Over the past six years, Boone’s only skatepark has been a diy set up at the old Watauga High School. The skateboard community in Boone came together to make it into a place where all skaters, no matter their age, could go and skate safely.

“What we saw at the old Watauga High School with the community was amazing. When you show up and you have 20 bags of concrete and everyone’s pitching in, moving dirt, and you see kids grabbing shovels and everyone comes together to build something. Then you let it dry and mark it off and come back two days later and everybody’s skateboarding.”

There was always a crowd of skateboarders at the old high school, especially when they found out they were losing the spot. “We were probably averaging 30+ kids a day at the old spot. The last weekend, when we found out we weren’t going to be able to have it anymore, we had probably a hundred people there, all skating.”

Features like this were built by the skateboarding community in Boone at the old Watauga High School.

J.P. and Ashley are taking the same approach with the new skatepark, hoping that the community will support this skatepark like they did with the diy at the old high school.

“Honestly, the diy side of things is super fun. It’s so rewarding, and then you get another level of respect for the spot, I think. When it came to clean up trash days and stuff like that, it was no questions asked. Everyone pitched in, immediately dropped whatever they were doing and did whatever needed to get done. I think you get that more when you have a little ownership in something.”

Sadly, this skateboarding spot was taken from them last year. J.P. wasn’t ready to let go of the skateboarding community after the success of the diy spot, “Once we lost the old skatepark we had, the diy that was at the old high school, it was going so well we were like we’ve got to have another spot.”

With persistent efforts from J.P. and Ashley, plans for a new spot started to come together. They were going to meetings with the town council every month or every other month, meeting with the transportation committee and the alternative transportation committee and having meetings between to try to answer any questions and get ahead.

The Skatepark was approved earlier this year in February, with budget and zoning also getting approved. The Town of Boone approved a $25,000 budget for the skatepark. “That’s just for material expenses, so they’re actually going to do all the grating and offer all the labor and manpower free of charge, so that will save a bunch,” J.P. said.

In just the last week, Recess and Gamekeeper have held fundraisers to raise additional funds for the skatepark. Recess’s mini golf fundraiser at Sunrise Grill raised over $17,000. In a press release, J.P. commented on the turnout, “To say the least it was a major success.” All of the proceeds will be added to the funds for Boone Greenway Skatepark.

Gamekeeper is still in the process of counting the proceeds from their fundraiser on Monday. They did, however, note that they raised over $1000 just in the silent auction. Half of the proceeds from their fundraiser will go to Boone Greenway Skatepark. The other half will be going to Ethiopian Skate in memory of Anthony Bourdain. “We’re excited to see a diy happen here and to celebrate the life of Anthony Bourdain. To see through one of his wishes, we wanted to send some money to one of Ethiopia’s skateparks,” said Lacey Brown.

Now, they’re waiting for permits to be pulled and looking forward to starting on grating and prepping for the concrete pad, “We’re going to let that sit over the winter so everything settles level. Hopefully, we’ll be doing concrete first of spring.”

A non-finalized plan of what Boone Greenway Skatepark may look like.

Though they don’t have a definite blueprint, opting instead to leave the plans open for ideas and for later add-ons, Recess plans on having some of the typical obstacles, “You’re going to have some ledges, quarter pipes, a pyramid feature.”

The idea is that in two years or three years later, Boone will have a full blown skatepark, which was their pitch to the Town of Boone. “We were like we realize you don’t have half a million dollars available for us at the moment, so we did some math and I talked to Tanner Concrete and some other people and basically it was like we can get a concrete pad for around $20-25,000 and then start over with the same thing we did up there. We can raise the money off of that and build features as we raise money.”

This timeframe lowers the financial cost and allows for the community to have a larger role in the skatepark’s creation. And waiting until spring to start pouring concrete gives Recess more time to plan for features and raise money for the features. “We might even try to build a few features prior to pouring the whole pad. The one plus is we have a little time with that to plan over the winter,” J.P. said.

“As far as the new high school goes, those kids can get out and walk to the park or ride to the park.”

The location of Boone Greenway Skatepark was also carefully thought out. J.P. and Ashley wanted a place that was accessible for everyone. “Appalcart accessible, greenway accessible. Pretty much even if you don’t have means of transport, you’ll be able to get to it. That was one of the big goals too. As far as the new high school goes, those kids can get out and walk to the park or ride to the park.”

J.P. and Ashley are thinking ahead for the skatepark’s sign as well. “I think we are going to have a sign out there with some naming right stuff slash some heavy contribution. Like Chandler Concrete has already offered forty yards of concrete, which is a heavy chunk of change. We’re going to have a sign out there with the rules, Boone Greenway Skatepark, and some of the contributions,” J.P. said. The skatepark is expected to , though it will continue to grow with new features and new skaters for years.

After six years of working to restore the skateboarding community in Boone, Recess hopes that the new, official skatepark will continue to bring the community together and give skateboarders a safe place to skate without the added obstacles of cracks, cars and pedestrians. “We were getting that youth back into skateboarding, which we lost that for a little while.”

Pictures from Gamekeeper’s Fundraiser:

Many smaller items were auctioned off in a silent auction, as shown here.
The cooks prepared dishes from one of Anthony Bourdain’s cookbooks to serve.

These hand painted skateboards were auctioned off during Gamekeeper’s fundraiser.

Gamekeeper Restaurant owners Ken and Wendy.

Pictures of DIY Spot at Old Wataugh High School:

Pictures of Recess’s Mini Golf Fundraiser