By Gaige Davila
The unmistakable hum of polyurethane wheels gliding against concrete greeted excited spectators this past Saturday, with skateboarders already taking advantage of South Padre Island’s newly opened skatepark.
The City of South Padre Island officially opened the John L. Tompkins Skatepark on May 8, during a ribbon cutting ceremony that featured the SPI SK8TY KATS–Kenna Schwartz, Bella and Piper Sturgeon, Sarah Hart Berman, Elle Louise Wall and Brookelyn Rohrer–the original fundraisers and advocates of the skatepark,city council members and community members who raised money and advocated for the skatepark’s building.
Just behind them were more than 40 skateboarders and rollerbladers, from kids to teens to adults, who had been there long before the 10:30 a.m. start of the ceremony.
“It’s been a long time coming,” South Padre Island Councilman Kerry Schwartz, the city’s lead proponent on the skatepark, said during the ceremony.
Schwartz said the skatepark, which took just over two months to construct, was completed on time and under budget. Several South Padre Island businesses and residents financially supported the skatepark, or provided facilities for fundraisers.
“This was truly a community effort to get this park built,” Schwartz said, noting that no city money was used to construct the park.
Schwartz mentioned several parties involved that made constructing the skatepark possible, including former South Padre Island Mayor Barry Patel, the Skate SPI Committee, and the SPI SK8TY KATS, the latter of whom raised $150,000 for the skatepark.
“They have proved if you want something bad enough, and work hard, you can achieve your goals,” Schwartz said of the SK8TY KATS.
The skatepark was constructed by Spohn Ranch, Inc., based in Los Angeles, California, and designed by New Line Skateparks, Inc., based in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.