Summerville skateboarders now have a new daily grind.
A new skate park, open from 7 a.m. until dusk, was unveiled Tuesday afternoon at the corner of South Magnolia and East Richland streets, near John McKissick Field.
Bill Ridenour, owner of Inland Skate Shop, said the latest attempts at a skate park in Summerville began when the shop opened in 2000.
“This year, the mayor (Bill Collins) got behind us and it got done real quick,” Ridenour said. “It’s a big deal for this little town.”
Ridenour said the need for a park has existed for quite some time.
“Even before I opened the shop, you’d be surprised by the amount of skateboarders in Summerville,” Ridenour said.
At the first Town Council meeting, nearly 100 kids sat quietly, Ridenour said, with name tags with only the word “please” on them. Now that the park is open, Collins cautioned the skaters to take care of it and represent themselves responsibly to nearby residents.
“As you know, it wasn’t the most popular thing we’ve ever done,” Collins said. “We have to prove it to the naysayers.”
The main complaints Collins received were about overspending and the noise, with the cost of the park around $25,000. As the kids raised funds and skaters made comments in town meetings about the park, Collins called the experience a great lesson in government for younger Summerville residents.
“I think everyone is going to be happy with it,” Collins said.
Ridenour said he expects to see about 10 skateboarders at any given time during the week, with 15 to 20 on Saturdays. The park has rails, ramps, grind boxes (which skateboarders ride along on the base of their boards), and a hubba ledge (a downward slope that runs alongside a set of stairs).
Summerville resident Krista Ramhoff said her daughter Jaelyn, 15, is not an avid skater, practicing only at the North Charleston park.
“I think she’ll skate more, now that it’s closer,” Ramhoff said.
Both Collins and Ridenour said the park can be expanded.
“Right off the bat, we need a quarter ramp and a bank ramp,” Ridenour said.
A quarter ramp is a fixture that slopes in a quarter of a circle, or pipe. A bank ramp is a straight, steep slope that helps skateboarders build speed.
“When I was a kid, we used to skate on ramps,” Ridenour said. “Now, these kids skate on structures.”
The cost of the ramps would be $10,000 each. With donations and more fundraising, Ridenour hopes to see expansions before next Christmas.
Reach Nick Watson at 937-4810.
Blake Cronin,12, of Summerville, flips his board as he jumps during grand opening of the new skate park Tuesday.×
Skateboarders line the fence waiting for a turn during the ribbon cutting for the Summerville skate park Tuesday.×
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