Ocala Skatepark is projected to open just in time for some summer break boarding after years of planning, fundraising and construction by the city.
Back in December, ground broke in Tuscawilla Park for Ocala’s very first skatepark, which has been in the works since 2014.
“The community has been talking about the need for a skatepark for decades,” says Julie R. Johnson, Recreation & Parks’ assistant director for the City of Ocala. “In 2014, city staff completed an evaluation and recommended a construction plan. At the time, it was noted that skateboarding was one of the fastest growing sports among youth.”
Phase 1A is a street course, which includes rails, ramps and more, and will be the largest feature of the skatepark. Additional phases of construction will be completed as funds are gathered through local donations. Those phases will include a snake run and large bowl. The skatepark is being designed by Tim Payne of Team Pain, a skateboarder and industry leader in concrete skatepark construction.
“Phase 1A will provide approximately 10,000 square feet of skating surface,” says Johnson. “This will serve all levels of skaters and BMX bikers. Additional phases will be geared more toward intermediate and advanced level users,” she adds.
Previously, skaters who live in Ocala and Marion County had to travel to Gainesville to ride in a true skatepark.
“The City of Ocala recognizes the cultural shift in the recreational pursuits of our citizens and is diversifying local park services to meet those needs. Skateboarding is expected to continue growing in popularity as it debuts as an Olympic sport in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo,” says Johnson. “And of course, skateboarding promotes an active lifestyle. We support anything to encourage people to get outside to play.”
Further fundraising is needed to complete the park—supporters can donate online at ocalaskatepark.com or mail a contribution to the Recreation & Parks Administration Office at 828 NE 8th Avenue, Ocala, Florida 34470.
Ocala Skatepark Grand Opening Event › May 18 › 11am-3pm
Skateparks provide the safest place to practice, rather than public streets or parking lots with cars, bikes and pedestrians. What else will new skaters need to try out the sport safely?
Most skateboarding injuries can be prevented by:
- Using a quality skateboard and checking for chips, nicks or broken parts before every ride
- Wearing a helmet, closed-toe shoes, wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads
- Crouching down on the skateboard when unbalanced and trying to land on fleshy parts of the body when falling
- Checking skating surfaces for wetness, debris, rocks or unevenness before skating
Visit skateboardsafety.org for a full breakdown on skating safely.