By Angie Bado, TSB Publisher
“Tight, sick, amazing, cool, the ultimate!” The kudos about McKinney’s brand new, state of the art skatepark could be heard coming from kids and adults alike at the grand opening Saturday morning, April 20.
For many McKinney residents who felt there was a need for a place for skaters and young people to gather, the opening of the long awaited skatepark is the “icing on the cake” of the many projects in the McKinney Park, Recreation and Open Spaces Department’s system.
“I’ve waiting for this (the skatepark) since eighth grade,” said 17 year old McKinney resident Luke Gatewood enthusiastically. Gatewood, who has been skateboarding for seven years, said, “This is the ultimate playground.”
Luke Gatewood, pictured in the green and white, has waited “a long time” to see McKinney’s skatepark open.
Gatewood’s mom and stepdad, Becca and Tom Motley, concur. “Luke has been waiting for this a long time. He’s a good skater,” Becca said.
The approximately $2 million, three-acre park, which occupies a portion of the Gabe Nesbitt Community Park, features more than 30,000 square feet of concrete ramps, bowls and rails with sections that are geared to accommodate all levels of skaters. In the early planning stages of the park, the City of McKinney gathered input from a group of McKinney kids and skaters. McKinney High School graduate (2012) Dan Jarvis was one of the individuals who was involved with the planning.
Jarvis, who skated the park on Saturday and is currently a student at the University of North Texas, said, “The city used pretty much everything that we (the committee) suggested but one of the big things that I personally suggested was the snake run. I’m really excited that they used my design for that because there are very few skate parks that actually have a snake run.”
Despite the potential for some “gnarly crashes”, fans of the sport are not to be deterred by the potential for injuries. McKinney resident David Chaiken, 46, said that Saturday was only his third time back on his board. “I’m just returning from having my spine fused last year,” Chaiken said.
Over the years he has experienced his share of injuries but his love of the extreme sport continues. “I was here yesterday, and I will be here a lot – this is great for McKinney,” (Friday) Chaiken said. “This is all pretty easy for me,” he said, demonstrating his skill with his board.
“I’m really excited that it (the skatepark) is finally done,” Jarvis said. “It took a long time, but it turned out to be a really great skatepark.”
The skatepark is located at 7001 W. Eldorado Parkway and is open daily from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Pictured above: Avid skateboarder David Chaiken said, “This is great for McKinney.”
A few words on skatepark etiquette:
1. Wait your turn and don’t practice bowl greed
At the skatepark’s bowl, one thing is clear, skaters generally respect each other. They take turns using the bowl, one at a time, giving a nod to each other to acknowledge whose turn it is. Don’t take forever inside the bowl – no one likes a bowl hog. Take your turn and get out.
2. Watch your kids, parents
Keep an eye on your young kids. The skatepark is not the place to go and allow little ones who have no sense of danger to run darting through those on skates or boards. It’s dangerous for the little kids and the skaters.
3. Watch where you sit
Don’t sit on ledges, rails, benches or other skateable surfaces inside the skate park. These are areas for skating! If you want to sit down, go to an area outside of the park.
4. Don’t announce to the world that you have left your stuff somewhere unattended in the park.
Don’t leave your personal items unattended while you skate. Leave your valuables locked in the trunk of your car, or better yet, at home.
See full photo gallery below. Top photo and photo gallery by TSB photographer and freelancer Sawyer Erickson.
Other photos by Angie Bado.