Orrville holds fundraiser for new skate park

Orrville holds fundraiser for new skate park

Image Credit: John Lorson

Skate, scooter and BMX enthusiasts from around the region gathered in Orrville on Saturday, July 16 for a street session to show their support for the city’s plans to build a skate park in town.

An idea first brought forward to the city administration nearly two decades ago, the move toward design and construction reflects a full-circle journey. While many municipalities initially thought of skate parks as a liability and a place where trouble was likely to happen, time and experience have shown a well-designed and thoughtfully located skate park can pay huge dividends by giving young people a safe place to spend time outdoors in an athletic activity that doesn’t require organization, team commitment or much in the way of equipment.

Giving kids a legal place to skate and ride also greatly reduces the risk of liability or inadvertent property damage when skaters ride on private property or other public spaces.

In an effort to bring skaters and bikers fully into the planning process, the Orrville Skate Park Fundraiser asked participants to take a look at scale drawings of proposed skate park layouts. Riders could vote for their favorite designs and also make suggestions for changes or added features.

As Orrville city councilman CJ Handwerk, a key planner of the event, told the assembled group, “The last thing you’d want is a park designed by a bunch of old guys who don’t skate or ride.”

The comment was met with laughs and knowing nods. Based upon the notes, comments and sketches compiled, riders stepped up to make the park their own.

Local resident Doug Brown, a full-time pro skater now in the 20th year of his career, provided portable ramps, rails and a killer soundtrack for the day and also contributed greatly to a prize giveaway that included boards, gear and a handful of custom-painted decks by local skater, rider and artist Ben Lorson. Brant Moore, a BMX pro and videographer who also helped to organize the event, shot, edited and produced a mini documentary on the day that is now available on YouTube.

Orrville police and fire departments and a handful of city leaders worked to ensure a safe, informative time as riders “shredded” for hours on a section of North Ella Street, closed specifically for the event and just a stone’s throw from the proposed location of the new facility. The Orrville Skate Park is now in design phase with construction anticipated to begin in 2023. City leaders are confident there will be an overwhelming response once the ribbon is cut.