Featured photo: Gabriel skateboards at the skatepark located at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds (photo by Gale Melcher)
Robert Dietrich started skateboarding around a year ago and has been practicing at the skatepark at Winston-Salem Fairgrounds for several months.
Scattered with a variety of ramps ranging in difficulty, the construction and installation of the skatepark that includes 15,200 square feet of ramps, quarter pipes, grinding rails, bank ramps and more received city council approval in August 2015.
Headed by William Royston, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department conducts annual inspections of the skatepark equipment, and in 2022 the pump track began to deteriorate as it took on water — Dietrich and other high schoolers told TCB in an interview that the pump track had developed some holes. Ordinarily, normal dips and banks of a pump track help bikers, skateboarders and roller skaters improve their balance.
During the Finance Committee meeting on Feb. 14 Royston told the council that the “hazardous piece of equipment” had been removed,” and that they were working with American Ramp Company and the skaters that frequent the facility “to get the equipment in there that they truly need.”
Stains left behind on the park’s concrete reveal where the 325-foot-long pump track used to run, snaking around the other pieces of equipment in a pattern of curves and bends.
Purchase of new equipment through a contract with the American Ramp company in the amount of $123,883.57 was recommended for Council approval on Feb. 14 by the Finance Committee and the item was approved by the city council via consent vote on Feb. 20.
During the committee meeting Mayor Pro Tem Denise D. Adams mentioned that the skatepark is frequently used, adding that residents of all ages enjoy the park’s facilities.
“Old people, young people, kids, families up there skateboarding — it’s a very good thing,” Adams said.
Another skateboarder, Gabriel, said he was there on the day the deteriorating pump track was taken away.
“They’ve been talking about it for months, though,” added Gabriel, who has been practicing at the skatepark for three years.
In an interview with TCB, Royston said that the skatepark will have new equipment in “12-16 weeks… late spring,” depending on the time it takes for the company to ship it and set it up.
Royston said that the renovations will include a large ramp, and that some of the current equipment will be repositioned around the skatepark. However, a new pump track will not be purchased for the park. Royston said that because a lot of the skaters like using rails for grinding, the updated park will include features that are well-suited for street skating so that the skaters can “feel like [they’re] skating in a downtown street center.”
“They’re trying to clear the gap,” Gabriel said, pointing toward the metal ramps that Dietrich and the other skateboarders were attempting to jump over.
“It’s really hard to do, though,” he noted before cheering Dietrich on as he attempted the trick, “You’ve got it bro, you got it!”
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