It seems that a new wave of enthusiasm for skateboarding has hit Moore County. Whispering Pines is working on a small skate park, and now Southern Pines is also in the planning stages. Southern Pines City Council on Tuesday gave the green light to city staff to work on skating park plans to complement other recreational facilities in the city.
Remember that last September, Marcel Goneau filed a request for the city to reconsider its position on skateboarding. In response to Goneau, Suzanne Coleman, who works with the City Reception Center at the station, submitted a letter to council stating that there have been documented incidents with skateboarders vandalizing the station and causing damage to the building. Both of these requests prompted council to ask city staff to make recommendations for skating at Southern Pines.
Goneau tragically passed away on November 13 at the age of 58.
False reports were circulating on social media that Southern Pines was trying to ban skateboarding, to which Regan Parsons, City Manager of Southern Pines, replied, âWe all agree that we need to keep downtown safe. This is why skateboarding is banned in the city center but allowed in other parts of Southern Pines.
Skateboarding has seen a surge in popularity during the pandemic. With the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics and the outcome of the pandemic, skateboarding is entering a golden age.
A skating facility was located in Pinebuff from 2006-2009, operated by the nonprofit Skaters for Moore. It closed when the building it was installed in was no longer available, but it had over 300 members by the time it ended. William Dean, owner of Flowland in Aberdeen, which sells skateboards and gear, was one of the founders of Skaters for Moore, and he was in attendance at Tuesday’s city council meeting.
The city has received a lot of comments and interest in a skate park is high.
There is an organization in Fayetteville called Friends of the Skateparks Foundation. According to their website, they “are a non-profit organization that promotes skateboarding to help at-risk youth and build public skate parks.” Quality skateparks are the key to success. However, many cities don’t know where to start, let alone what the difference between a quality skatepark and another is.
Friends of the Skateparks Foundation is a non-profit organization that can help skateparks up to $ 150,000. According to Parsons, the initial budget will be around $ 50,000 (for planning purposes) and initially may not be larger than a basketball court.
There has been a lot of discussion about the location of the park. The initial consensus was for a location in Memorial Park. The main advantage of Memorial Park is that it has existing parking and restroom facilities. These are a few areas that could be redeveloped for the park, including an outdoor racquetball court.
The Friends of Skatepark Foundation can help with planning and fundraising, but they had to know there was political will for it. Southern Pines Mayor Carol Haney said she and the city wanted to continue with the initial planning. Also addressing the skaters present, she said: “You have been very patient.”
It is important to note that the city did not commit funds for the project, just authorized the planning necessary to formulate a plan.
~ Written by reporter Chris Prentice of Sandhills Sentinel. Contact him at [emailÂ protected].
Featured photo taken by Sandhills Sentinel photographer Cow McFarland.