After several years of fundraising, planning and creating, a community’s dream to have a skate park recently turned into reality.
On May 8, South Padre Island held a grand opening for its newest attraction at John L. Tompkins Park.
Some features of the skate park include — a multi-depth flow bowl with banks and a quarter pipe, a roll-in area for beginners and a drop-in area for more advanced skaters.
City council member Kerry Schwartz said the skate park is a long awaited project that’s very special to him.
“I am proud to have been a part of this project which provides a safe place for kids and families to engage in outdoor activities,” he stated. “Skateboarding is now an Olympic sport so you may be seeing some future Olympians practicing their tricks right here.”
According to Schwartz, the project has been a work in progress for close to 14 years.
“I had a strong belief in building a park system, especially addressing kids because owning a retail store here on the Island — I’ve had families coming in and saying other than the beach and swimming pool, what else is there for kids to do and there wasn’t,” he said.
The project was made possible with the help of grants and fundraising.
Schwartz said a group of girls from the Island started a group called SK8TY KATS about four years ago to help raise money to fund the skate park.
“They started raising money with fundraisers and had a big event at Louie’s,” Schwartz said. “They had a container set up at a lot of retail stores so they worked hard.”
Schwartz said when the girls created the group, they were between the ages of seven and 10.
Now, they’re in their teens.
“They were very influential,” Schwartz said. “They came to city council meetings and met with a civic organization on the Island to promote their plans for the skate park.”
Schwartz said SK8TY KATS raised more than $150,000 to fund the project.
The group was given the honor to cut the ribbon during the skate park’s grand opening ceremony.
“We had a group of kids who actually went after it and made it work,” Schwartz said. “It’s a nice park. Kids are excited.”
Schwartz added that the project wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication from members of the SK8SPI Committee, support of past and present SPI council members, the SPI Economic Development Corporation, residents and the business community.