|Movement to get a new Tipp skate park|
|Written by Editor|
|Thursday, 14 June 2012 18:03|
By CECILIA FOX
Record Herald Writer
TIPP CITY - Cody Rowlands is a young man on a mission; a mission to make Tipp City a safer place to skate.
His plan is simple: build a new skate park in Tipp City. He has been working for the past year and now he’s on the verge of making his vision a reality.
Rowlands, who moved to Tipp City from Connecticut nearly 10 years ago, has been skating for seven years. He’s been sponsored by multiple skating companies, he’s toured with Skaters of Christ, and he is an ambassador for Skate for Peace. He also hosts a skate night on Tuesdays at Ginghamsburg Church and teaches skateboarding lessons to local kids.
So when Rowlands says there’s something wrong with the Kyle Park skate park, he knows what he’s talking about.
“At first Kyle Park was just a good place to go and do what I do, but after a while I started to realize, as I got better, I realized how dangerous the park was and how run down it was,” Rowlands said.
The skate park at Kyle Park consists of some rusty metal ramps and rails, which Rowlands says are prone to “disappearing.” Holes pockmark the asphalt surface, holes that could easily catch the small wheels of skateboards and scooters and cause accidents. Trash and broken glass litter the park.
“At first I didn’t think much of it; I didn’t think much would come. But I thought, you know what, the least I could do is raise awareness,” Rowlands said.
According to Parks Superintendent Jim Asher, the Kyle Park skate park was built as a temporary solution. About 10 years ago, a skate park committee was formed and local skaters and city officials got together to discuss possibilities.
At the time, there was no room for a large, permanent skate park anywhere in Tipp City, so the committee agreed on a temporary park with moveable equipment in Kyle Park. It was agreed that, if that park did well, the city would consider building something more permanent. But the Kyle Park skate park never really took off, and the idea of a permanent park was forgotten.
“Cody is the first person to approach us about building a new park since 2000,” said Asher.
But the Kyle Park skate park hasn’t seen much action in recent years because, according to Rowlands, it’s not safe to use.
So Rowlands began a petition on Change.org and created a Facebook page calling for a new skate park in Tipp City. He also has a YouTube channel where he posts videos about his plans for a new park.
His plan is to build a new, concrete park. There are many advantages to a concrete skate park, Rowlands said. Concrete doesn’t rust and it can’t be stolen. It’s strong and safe and it’s much quieter than metal equipment.
One video interviews kids who come to skate night at Ginghamsburg Church and their parents, they all agree that the Kyle Park skate park is no place for anyone to skate. Another of Rowlands’ videos documents all of the “no skateboarding” signs in the city and asks the question “if not here, then where?”
Then Rowlands started contacting skate park designers, on the off chance that he might get a response. And he did. Spohn Ranch, a California-based company that specializes in building skate parks, contacted Rowlands and offered their support.
“It was definitely a clear sign that this was something I had to do,” he said. “They’ve been huge on support. Without their support this would be impossible.”
Rowlands has also met with Mayor Dee Gillis and Councilman Bryan Budding, who he said seemed very supportive of his vision.
In March, Parks Advisory board Chairman Patrick Hodges addressed Rowlands’ petition, saying that he was disappointed by the accusations, which he thought false. Others on the board said that they rarely see the skate park in use. But in May, when Rowlands appeared in person to make his case, the board members changed their minds.
He used the example of asking skateboarders to build a football field. The skateboarders might think it looks fine, but any football player would know that it wasn’t built correctly. He presented the board with his plans, and explained that a new, concrete park would be safer for skaters.
“They were really impressed and they actually loved the idea,” Rowlands said. His three-minute presentation turned out to be 20 minutes long.
He has since had a meeting with Tipp City Parks Superintendent Asher and they have agreed on a likely location for the new park: the site of the old baseball fields by the aquatic center.
“The area I wanted to have is the same area he had in mind. I thought that would be a great place, because the bike trail provides a safe, positive commute,” he said. He added that the location may help to boost ticket sales at the aquatic center, saying that there’s nothing better than a swim after a day of skating.
Because there is currently no money in the city’s budget for a new skate park, Rowlands will have to do the fundraising himself.
If he can raise the money he needs to design and construct the park, his next step will be to present his final design to the Parks Board for review, said Asher.
He’s thinking about organizing a concert to raise funds and awareness for the park. A friend of Rowlands’, who is a DJ, says he knows a few bands that’d be willing to play for free for a good cause.
Rowlands isn’t just seeking monetary donations, but also building supplies like concrete.
He hopes that the process moves quickly, but he knows that it could take years.
“It isn’t just for me, though. It’s for everyone in Tipp City. It’s about bringing people together,” said Rowlands. “When I moved from Connecticut to Tipp it didn’t feel like home. I’ve been here for 10 years and it just never felt like home. But as soon as I got involved in this, Tipp City started to become my new home.”
To support Rowlands' cause, find him on Facebook, either his own or the page 'Tipp City Needs a New Skate Park', on YouTube (as CodyJohnRowlands), and at the website http://codyrowlands.wix.com/keep-tipp-healthy.
|Last Updated on Friday, 15 June 2012 19:01|