Skaters watched every day as 250 cubic feet of concrete was poured on a half-acre of the city park waiting for the day the fence came down.
That fence came down March 8 and witnesses claim it was chaos and happiness.
One bystander could only describe the scene as, “like a legion of skate demons and scooter monkeys grew wings and descended upon the arena.”
The bystander went on to say that “every single one of them had smiles on their faces.”
The youth of Page had been given everything they were promised and the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new skatepark took place on Saturday.
Mayor Levi Tappan and Mandi Lotze, board member of the Page Parks and Recreation Department, cut the ribbon. Every wheel in town gathered to celebrate the newest city attraction at the John C. Memorial Park.
Tappan opened the ceremony with his speech remembering his first thoughts the moment he had seen the old skate equipment.
“I said to myself, ‘We can do better,’” Tappan said. “And in 2015 the proposal went out to [City Council].”
Tappan admired the skatepark.
“The kids wanted to be involved in all aspects of the design,” he said. “Now, this will not only be a foundation for skaters, but (also)for all wheels.”
Skatepark project manager, Mike McCormick of Parks and Recreation, recalled how the plan began.
“I still remember that little 8-year-old kid (who) came into (the) Council Chambers with Band-Aids all over his face and said, ‘I injured myself on your skatepark [equipment] and you should do something about it,’” he recalled. “That is the power of the citizen and the power of the individual.”
The city didn’t have the funds then, but the boy’s voice was not forgotten and over the years a plan developed. The City Council approved the proposal to build a new skatepark June 2017 with a budget set at $400,000.
On Oct. 26, 2017, Los Angeles-based Spohn Ranch – professional skatepark builders – was commissioned to design and build a new all-wheels arena on a half an acre at the city park, which is part of the Block 17 Plan, to beautify the city and make it more tourist friendly. But the skatepark’s lead designer, Vincent Onel had to include what the youth of Page wanted and needed.
So, workshops were held, and their voices were heard.
“The design was heavily shaped by the community input,” Onel said. “I take all their ideas and put them into the design. It’s so rewarding knowing it will be a safe place where people from all walks of life can come together and dive into their passions.”
Skaters, BMX riders, inline skaters, and city officials broke ground in September 2018 and then the wait began.
The city hopes that tourists will also find their way to the new skatepark to see the beauty of the design, whether to skate or watch the all-wheels athletes test their skills. The design is highlighted with the Horseshoe Bend Snake Run and the park features a 10-foot vertical wall, a bowl with a 4- to 8-foot drop in, and ramps and rails for all skill levels.
Aaron Spohn, president and founder of Spohn Ranch, told the crowd Saturday that he has fallen in love with Page and thanked the citizens for the opportunity to build a “skate-of-the art” design.
“I am super excited but not as excited as these guys,” Spohn said as he pointed to the kids waiting to “drop-in” on the park. “I am really happy with the design. I have fallen in love with your community. I have been here nine times and I usually don’t do that for a project and I plan on coming back [because] I know how important it is to the kids and I hope that others will also appreciate it.”
“The Block 17 Plan had been drafted and with the outpouring request for a new skatepark,” McCormick added. “[The city] decided this project would be the jumping off point to beautifying the city. Hopefully tourist who are looking for a place to ride their boards or bikes will come and see our new skatepark.”
Scott Decenzo, a professional skateboarder from Vancouver, BC, Canada, held a 15-minute demonstration for the crowd. Decenzo resides in Long Beach, California, and he has numerous sponsors, including nearby Lip Trix Boardshop in St. George, Utah.
The youngsters on Saturday found the demonstration as a challenge to elevate their skill level. Once the park was open they showed great potential to be as good as an all-wheels professional.
The skatepark is located in the John C. Memorial Park. Parking space is also available below the park behind the Safeway shopping mall.