Cheyenne has become a little piece of heaven for people who perform half-pipes and catch air. Yes‚ skateboarders‚ perhaps the successors to some of yesteryear’s rodeo cowboys‚ now have a world-class facility in which to practice their ollies and bruise their knees.
In 2006‚ major construction was completed on a magnificent addition to the Brimmer Skateboard Park that is drawing amateur and the occasional professional skateboarder from Cheyenne and throughout the region.
“There’s nothing like it near here. Skaters travel all over the place. Now Cheyenne is definitely going to be one of their destinations‚” says Toby Ieuter‚ senior planner for the Parks and Recreation Department‚ who built rapport with many in the skateboarding community during the two years she worked on the project.
When the city council banned skateboarding in downtown Cheyenne in 2004‚ it resolved to offer the mostly young skateboarding crowd an option other than sidewalks and city streets on which to surf concrete. The skateboard park’s sturdy concrete-and-steel construction is designed to take the abuse that downtown areas are not.
The prospect of a premier facility mobilized the skateboarding community. Cheyenne teenagers sold candy to help raise funds for it‚ and the Parks and Recreation Department collaborated with local skateboarders to come up with the design. Skate parks must meet certain requirements to achieve what skaters term “flow.” Now‚ skateboarders are spreading the word about the park on the Internet and through word of mouth.
“We couldn’t have done this without them‚” Ieuter says.
The challenging park features a kidney-shaped bowl and a larger flow bowl. Skateboarders skate on the rounded floors and curved walls of the bowls‚ which resemble empty swimming pools. The park also features a street course‚ which simulates areas around the city that are now off limits to skateboarders.
Funding for the project – which‚ including design and construction costs‚ is estimated at more than $500‚000 – has been truly a community effort. Generous private donations from the Brimmer and Rochelle families helped cover much of the cost. Additional contributions have come from the Women’s Civic League‚ the Tony Hawk Foundation (named for the legendary skateboarder)‚ and Wal-Mart‚ as well as the city of Cheyenne‚ which pitched in $150‚000. Local businesses and contractors threw themselves behind the project as well. Then‚ of course‚ there have been the fundraising campaigns of the skateboarders themselves‚ which have netted roughly $40‚000.
Though plenty of young skaters from Cheyenne and beyond the city limits are showing up to strut their stuff in the park‚ it’s attracting older citizens as well‚ notes Parks and Recreation Department director Rick Parish. “Older people walking their dogs to go over to watch and say‚ “I would never do that.” Whether people come to skate or to gawk‚ Brimmer Skateboard Park has become another reason to travel to Cheyenne.
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