Grassroots Efforts Grow Skate Parks

Local youth helped break ground for the expansion of Wakefield Skate Park.

Just last week, skaters and officials gathered in the shade to officially kick off the expansion of Wakefield Skate Park.  On a warm Saturday afternoon, folks took a few moments to dig into a symbolic pile of dirt and throw a shovelful into the air, thus marking the start of construction.  It’s symbolic and it’s an important affirmation of the Park Authority’s commitment to those individuals, mostly teens, who want to take part in the individual challenges that skateboards and BMX bikes offer.

The expansion will be built in the skate plaza style and feature street skating elements.

So what will the expansion bring in the near future?  In 2008, the citizens of Fairfax County, as part of a Park Authority Bond Referendum, approved an expansion of the existing skate park, adding approximately 6,220 sq. ft. to the existing 21,500 sq. ft. structure.  Construction is scheduled to begin immediately and the new section will open later in the summer.  The expanded area is designed in the skate plaza style and will feature elements for street skaters to slide, grind, and jump off.

The park is divided into three skill levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced.  Height and difficulty rating of ramps and rails increase as the skater advances into a higher and more difficult section of the park.  Each of the park’s sections feature ramps with decks at the top, along with rails or grind box, and a half-pipe was recently added. The park is also open to in-line skates, BMX bikes and non-motorized scooters. 

The skate park hosts many special events during the year.  Late night sessions on weekends allow the skaters into the park until 11 p.m.  The park also holds an annual “SkateFest,” featuring demonstrations, competition and giveaways.

A launch ramp shoots skaters into the air.

And now, not only is this facility a great place to skate and hang-out, but since March, it’s also free. Skaters now use the park as a skate at your own risk facility. Although the site is unsupervised, helmets and protective equipment are still encouraged.

Skating and skate parks are legitimately a part of the Fairfax County landscape now.  Skaters worked hard to get these facilities built.  They still show up with skateboards in hand at public hearings to remind officials about their desires, and they even help to design and plan the skate parks.  That’s the way these things are supposed to work.

 

Written by Michael Cadwallader, manager, Audrey Moore RECenter

 

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About Fairfax County Park Authority

HISTORY: • On December 6, 1950, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors created the Fairfax County Park Authority. The Park Authority was authorized to make decisions concerning land acquisition, park development and operations in Fairfax County, Virginia. • To date, 11 park bond referenda have been approved between 1959 and 2008. Another Park Bond Referendum will be held in November 2012. Today, the Park Authority has 420 parks on approximately 23,168 acres of land. We offer 371 miles of trails, our most popular amenity. FACILITIES: The Park System is the primary public mechanism in Fairfax County for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land and resources, areas of historic significance and the provision of recreational facilities and services including: o Nine indoor RECenters with swimming pools, fitness rooms, gyms and class spaces. Cub Run features an indoor water park and on-site naturalist. o Eight golf courses including Laurel Hill, our newest, upscale course and clubhouse located in Southern Fairfax County o Five nature and visitor centers. Also seven Off-Leash Dog Activity areas o Several lakes including Lake Fairfax, Lake Accotink and Burke Lake, with campgrounds at Burke Lake and Lake Fairfax o The Water Mine Family Swimmin’ Hole at Lake Fairfax, Our Special Harbor Sprayground at Lee as well as an indoor water park at Cub Run RECenter o Clemyjontri Park, a fully accessible playground in Great Falls featuring two acres of family friendly fun and a carousel o An ice skating rink at Mount Vernon RECenter and the Skate Park in Wakefield Park adjacent to Audrey Moore RECenter o Kidwell Farm, a working farm of the 1930s era at Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon, now with historic carousel o Eight distinctive historic properties available for rent o A working grist mill at Colvin Run in Great Falls and a restored 18th century home at Sully Historic Site in Chantilly o A horticulture center at Green Spring Gardens in Annandale o Natural and cultural resources protected by the Natural Resource Management Plan and Cultural Resource Plans, plus an Invasive Management Area program that targets alien plants and utilizes volunteers in restoring native vegetation throughout our community o Picnic shelters, tennis courts, miniature golf courses, disc golf courses, off-leash dog parks, amphitheaters, a marina, kayaking/canoeing center o Provides 274 athletic fields, including 30 synthetic turf fields, and manages athletic field maintenance services at 500 school athletic fields PARK AUTHORITY BOARD: • A 12-member citizen board, appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, sets policies and priorities for the Fairfax County Park Authority. %

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