A Need for Speed

skate park

Support for the future College Station Skate Park is widespread among local skateboarders, who want and need a place to hone their skills and play their game without being branded delinquents or hoodlums for destroying property.  As a lifelong athlete, I can relate to these skateboarders because I understand the thrill of competition and the drive to be the best they can be at the sport they love, whether it’s as weekend warrior or as an elite international star. Their passion drives them.

Let’s face it, in my heart I’m an athlete — a competitive person looking for a challenge.  I wrestled and played football from fifth-grade through high school. I also played baseball from second- through eighth-grade, when wrestling injuries ended my major league dreams.  For the last few years, I’ve played ice hockey.  Suffice it to say, I understand athletes and the way they think, because it’s how I think and how I tick.

Make no mistake, skateboarding is a sport.  Maybe not in the sense of traditional sports, such as baseball, basketball, football and ice hockey, but more like the individual sports of running, skiing and wrestling.  Skateboarding is unique because practicing the needed skills requires using objects such as pool bowls, benches, curbs, stairs and rails to perfect the elite skateboarders’ tricks.

I see many positives coming from making this skate park project happen.  Imagine growing up in a town that didn’t have a place for you to play your sport: baseball played in the streets until you break the neighbor’s window; football played in a field of broken glass and brick; ice hockey played on a pond that isn’t quite safely frozen (unless you’re in Minnesota or Alaska).  How great would it feel if your town gave you a safe place to practice and play?  Probably pretty good, and that’s how these young men and women feel about this future park.

The project’s final stretch
Our goal is to deliver a quality product for these skateboarders to enjoy for years to come.  This is why, in conjunction with various city departments, we used an alternate construction contract method of competitive sealed proposals.  Under that method, low bid is not the sole criteria of award.  This may be controversial to some, but it will get us a qualified contractor to build the park.  Proposals were submitted on Aug. 23 and are under review.  We hope to select a qualified contractor who will deliver a quality product and bring that contract before the College Station City Council in October.  Our plan is to open the park in the spring.

The choice for the skateboarding athlete is either have a safe place to hone skills or gain a reputation as a scofflaw, vandal or outlaw.  If skateboards were outlawed, only the outlaws would have skateboards, and I might just buy one to hang on my wall.  In the meantime, the only skating I will do is on ice.

Edward McDonald
Edward McDonald
Graduate Civil Engineer | Capital Projects
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