Future of skatepark grinding to crawl after location debate

Future of skatepark grinding to crawl after location debate

SUMMERVILLE, SC (WCSC) - At Inland Surf and Skate shop in Summerville, the idea for a town skatepark started rolling around in 2001. 11 years later plans for ramps and jumps are closer to reality than ever before.

But before work can start on the project off Berlin G. Myers parkway the pro-skate crowd is encountering a manmade obstacle that isn't going to be easy to clear.

"It's just absurd," said Rosemary Maner-Praileau. "We already have the stadium right here, we have an elementary school there. The school of the arts is over here along with the Berlin G. Myers parkway. How much more can we take?"

Maner-Praileau is one of several neighbors planning to be at Wednesday night's Summerville town council meeting to discuss the location of the park.

"I think it's going to be a hazard all around. I'm looking at crime. I'm looking at the congestion it's going to cause," she said.

A block away from the proposed park location, Melinda Dingle also believes the addition to the neighborhood wouldn't be in the communities best interest.

Dingle said she thinks a skatepark will attractive, "unsupervised teenagers, bring in crowds, rowdiness, noise, crime and drugs."

Bill Ridenour, who owns Inland Skate shop, has been working for a decade to make a skatepark in Summerville a reality.

"It's definitely overdue," he said.

Ridenour said he can appreciate people having concerns about their community but he doesn't agree with their view of skateboarders and their culture.

"The most frustrating part to me is why is it OK to discriminate against skateboarders based on stereotypes," said Ridenour.

"Just about every town across the United States has a skateboard park," he said. "I don't see why this is such a big issue to be honest. Summerville is a great town and it would just make it that much better."

The Summerville Town Fiance Committee has already set aside $50,000 for the construction of the park. The area currently being scouted for the park is at the intersection of Magnolia Way and East Richland Street.

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