A community effort

Published 10:47 pm Thursday, September 6, 2007

By Staff
If everything goes as planned, California Skateparks will begin the construction phase of the Patrick Cochran Memorial Skatepark project.
Watching a full pipe, a half-pipe and a rail being built at the project site next to the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center on East Seventh Street would have more than pleased Patrick, an avid skateboarder who was killed in an automobile accident on Aug. 30, 2003. Patrick and his family were returning from an N.C. State University football game when the accident occurred.
Patrick also would have been happy with how the community has come together to support the skatepark.
The Washington Optimist Club and a group of volunteers have raised about $110,000 to help pay for the 8,000-square-foot park. The city has committed $85,000 to the project. Beaufort County has appropriated $20,000.
Patrick would have wanted a skatepark in Washington to have been designed and built by one of the best skatepark designers and builders. That’s happening.
Earlier this year, in March to be exact, Washington’s City Council voted unanimously to award a construction contract not to exceed $210,000 to California Skateparks and a $7,000 contract for skatepark-construction management to Wally Hollyday.
Hollyday designed the skatepark and produced construction documents for the project. He was paid $21,000 to do that work. Hollyday is among the best skatepark designers in the world, according to several Web sites devoted to skateboarding. Hollyday has built skateparks for cities such as Atlanta, Knoxville, Tenn.; Flagstaff, Ariz.; and Sacramento, Calif. He has built at least 40 concrete skateparks ranging in size from 4,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet.
From the start, the community got behind the skatepark project, with several groups and many people raising money for the skatepark by way of private donations, fundraising activities and other methods. PCM Skatepark sweatshirts, and T-shirts were sold to raise money for the project. People bought brick pavers to honor or commemorate someone, with those pavers becoming a part of the skatepark complex.
Donations of $75 or more to the skatepark project, a public-private enterprise, will be recognized with brick pavers.
Donations from $75 to $499 will be recognized with a 4-inch-by-8-inch brick. Donations from $500 to $999 will be recognized with an 8-inch-by-8-inch brick. Donations from $1,000 to $4,999 will be recognized with an 8-inch-by-8-inch brick in contrasting colors. Donations of $5,000 or more will be recognized with a 12-inch-by-12-inch stone in contrasting colors.
It’s good to see the City of Washington support the project. While many cities and towns build basketball courts, baseball fields, softball fields, soccer fields and tennis courts for their residents, a lesser number of cities and towns have built facilities for skateboarders and other participants in “extreme” sports. By providing a skateboarding park, the city helps meet a recreational need long left ignored and unmet.
If the skatepark helps keep one young person on a skateboard and off drugs, the community’s investment in the skatepark will have paid a great dividend.
In February 2004, Tim Ware, representing the Washington Optimist Club, asked the City Council to consider providing funds to help build the skatepark.
His words are proving to be prophetic.
The park and its accompanying pavers will be a testament to that community effort. That says a lot about Washington and its people.