No longer a dream

Published 6:47 pm Thursday, December 20, 2007

By Staff
The Patrick Cochran Memorial Skatepark will be more than just a place for skateboarders and skaters to learn, hone and show off their skills. It will be a testament to what can happen when a community works together to turn a dream into a reality.
Cochran was a Washington resident and skateboarder who was killed in an automobile collision on Aug. 30, 2003. He was 13 when he died.
With the concrete work at the skatepark completed, just a few other items must be taken care of before the skatepark opens. That opening should take place by the first of February. That opening will culminate several years of a public-private partnership to build the skatepark.
The City Council had talked about a skatepark for several years without allocating funds for such a project. The first serious discussion about a skatepark began at the council’s planning session in 2002. At that time, there was talk about building the skatepark near the Bug House Park or the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center on East Seventh Street. Constructing a skatepark near the Bug House Park would have meant taking space occupied by tennis courts damaged from flooding in recent years.
In his January 2003 letter to Judy Meier Jennette, then a council member but now mayor, Jakob Pernov, a Boy Scout, asked the city to consider building a skatepark.
In February 2004, Tim Ware, representing the Washington Optimist Club, asked the council to consider allocating money for a skatepark. At that time, Ware told the council the committee pursuing construction of a skatepark believed it was time to seek public and private funds to pay for the project.
Ware was right.
The Washington Optimist Club and a group of volunteers raised at least $110,000 to help fund the 8,000-square-foot park. The city committed $85,000 to the project. Beaufort County has appropriated $20,000. Cochran’s family has been instrumental in helping raise money for the skatepark.
To help fund the project, some people, businesses and organizations bought brick pavers that will become a part of the skatepark. The skatepark committee also sells T-shirts, hoodies and monogrammed polo shirts that have the skatepark’s logo to raise money. Those items were selling so well that the committee had to buy more of them to make sure it had enough for the Christmas season.
Earlier this month, the skatepark project received some money from another source.
Be Active North Carolina awarded a $2,000 grant to the project. The money will be used to help pay for a fence to go around the skatepark.
The money obtained for the skatepark will be well-spent. By providing young people — perhaps some older ones, too — something that’s useful and gratifying, the skatepark may help prevent some of them from getting into trouble by way of drugs, crime and other destructive behavior.
William and Cindy Cochran, Patrick’s parents, must be so proud the community came together to honor Patrick’s memory this way.
The Patrick Cochran Memorial Skatepark is more than just concrete, deep bowls and half pipes. It’s an investment in the community. It’s a community coming together to make sure a boy’s dream is fulfilled.
The boy is gone. The dream is no longer. It’s a reality.