The Union Recorder

Local News

May 2, 2013

Advocates seek city skate spot space

MILLEDGEVILLE — Since 2004, skateboarding reigns as the third most popular sport among teenagers. Milledgeville currently has no space for skaters to congregate, after the high-liability skating area next to the Golden Pantry off Hancock Street closed in 2005.

Milledgeville native and skateboarding progressive sports advocate Ben Joiner thinks the time is now for building a small-scale skate spot on the unused concrete slab at Central City Park. This usable 20 x 100 foot portion near the corner of West Franklin and North Tattnall streets serves as an ideal, centralized location.

“We have zero space,” Joiner said. “The spot we are talking about looks like God created it for skaters.”

Other Georgia cities like Dublin, Valdosta and Thompson built skate parks. Locations such as Chatham County and a planned 40,000 square foot regional skate park in Kennesaw are taking advantage of what Joiner sees as a low cost way to boost local economies, benefit at-risk kids and improve community health.

“Most cities are surprised by how popular the skate parks are. Why not make money for our town? The bottom line is recreation keeps kids out of trouble,” Joiner said.

The skate spot’s technical plans, created by Joiner, include a flat bar, ledge also known as a grind box and a three and a half foot quaterpipe up the park’s natural embankment. The quarterpipe would be 20 foot wide to match the existing slab.

A 5,000 square foot skate spot serves five to eight users at a time. The development is so small and simple that Joiner estimated a $5,000 cost, mostly for the pipe, on the high end.

“We don’t need much money and are using a space that isn’t taking away from anything,” Joiner said. “It’s a one-time expense.”

Liability isn’t a concern, according to city attorney Jimmy Jordan. The city must be involved in the entire process making sure the final product rises up to code.

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