Community members gathered at the Morganton Skate Park Wednesday morning to officially celebrate its grand opening.
While skaters have been able to use the park since December 2017, the City is continuing to make improvements to the facility. An intensive public-input process that involved multiple community meetings and the creation of a Skate Park Advisory Committee led to the selection of the final design that was built. Pillar Design Studios created the design of the park, and Artisan Skateparks built the park.
Morganton Parks and Recreation Director Rob Winkler said the skate park was one of the most unique parks he has ever had the privilege of working on. Winkler said he was proud of how the community came together to provide input on the design of the park, and enjoyed how invested multiple local groups were in bringing the park to life.
“A park like this takes a collaborative effort between a lot of people,” Winkler said. “We had a gentleman by the name of Eliot Lytle who spearheaded a lot of communication with the public and getting the youth involved. We were able to sit down and get together and form a lot of ideas and concepts that we thought would be good for here.”
Morganton Mayor Ronnie Thompson recalled how excited local and regional skaters were to use the park as it was being completed.
“We’ve talked for many years about having a skate park, and it finally came to fruition,” Thompson said. “I was out here the night they poured the last bit of concrete on a Friday night, it was about 8:30 p.m., and a man had driven from Boone who wanted to skate. I told him he couldn’t skate that night because it wasn’t quite finished yet. We had to seal it before we could actually use it. But now, every weekend and every day this is a crowded spot that people love to come to.”
The City received funding from multiple sources to build the skate park, including money from the Morganton Parks and Recreation Foundation, the Morganton Optimist Club, the Morganton Service League, private donors and a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. The City provided in-kind services during the construction of the skate park to ensure local and regional skaters received the most park for the money.
Chris Jernigan, of the Morganton Optimist Club, said he was proud that the Morganton Optimist Club was able to contribute funds for the park to be built. The mission of the club is to ensure plenty of opportunities for local youth, and Jernigan said he felt donating to the building of the skate park lined up perfectly with that goal.
“We still need to find ways to help our children learn, grow, accomplish and have fun,” Jernigan said. “We are so proud to be part of this amazing park that does just that. So to all the skaters, young and old alike, on behalf of the Optimist Club of Morganton – skate on.”
The park is located at 601 N. King St., and is open daily from dawn until 10 p.m. It contains a variety of features, including ramps, stairs, bowls and rails, for skaters to enjoy. There are lights at the skate park to keep the park illuminated at night until it closes.
View photos of the ribbon cutting here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cityofmorgantonnc/albums/72157709051276386