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West Valley City Journal

The City Without a Skate Park is a Skate Park

Oct 07, 2016 02:31PM ● By Greg James

An artist's drawing of the finished skate park located near the family fitness center on 5600 West in West Valley. (Think Architecture/West Valley City)

By Greg James | [email protected]

If you are interested in finding out what words like grind box, hubba, slant rail or spine transfer mean, then head over to West Valley City’s first and only skate park; located near the family fitness center on 5600 West. The athletes there might be able to tell you.

“We are a large city and have no skate park. We certainly see the demand and have learned very quickly that if you do not have a skate park then everything is a skate park,” West Valley City Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Astill said.

The grand opening of the new skate park is scheduled for Oct. 8. The ribbon cutting will mark the beginning of what city leaders hope is a place youth and adults alike can enjoy a non-traditional sport such as boarding.

The project cost the city nearly $1.2 million. The main focus of the park is for the beginner skater. 

“There are a lot of kids that do not play traditional sports, but they love this activity and they are very good and very athletic. Some kids just don’t like football or baseball,” Astill said. “We got requests and letters from residents for this park. We could see the demand.”

The park contains several features designed for experienced skaters and several for intermediate and beginners. The park will allow skateboards, inline skates and bicycles. It contains five fun boxes (swimming pool type holes) with coping on the edges for gliding and staling. Several flat rails, ledges and ramps will provide speed and obstacles for tricks and jumps.

After the scheduled opening the parks and recreation department is planning on offering learn to skate and board instructional courses.

“We want to use it to expand the sport and offer opportunities to the community to learn to use the facility, we will offer the typical recreation programs. Mostly we are excited to cut the ribbon and let the kids go at it,” Astill said.

The park will operate during normal park hours, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Users skate at their own risk. Although studies done by the skaters for public skate parks show that a majority of accidents involving skaters include a motor vehicle. The most interesting terrain for skating is found on streets and sidewalks. Centralizing the terrain in a park make a safe place for these athletes to practice their sport without the outside danger.

When a park is constructed correctly it will require virtually no maintenance. The oldest parks in the country have been in operation for nearly 30 years.

Astill said the city leaders see the importance of supporting all of the youth that want to have active and healthy lifestyles. Skating has proven to be good exercise. It engages several large and small muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings and quads. 

Even without performing elaborate tricks; pushing the board around and maintaining your balance can elevate your cardiovascular system. According to it can burn eight to 12 calories per minute. 

“We have been working on this project for nearly 10 years. We met with youth and older skaters and got  advice and realized the need for this in the community,” Astill said.