A fitting tribute to Patrick
It’s a shame the person for whom the Patrick Cochran Memorial Skatepark in Washington is named could not be there when it opened Saturday.
His spirit surely was there and will be there.
There’s more to the skatepark’s opening than just another city-owned recreation facility. There’s more to the skatepark than just bowls, rails and half-pipes. There’s more to the skatepark than it being named in honor of Patrick.
The skatepark serves as an example of a community coming together to help its young people. That community cooperation 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.
The idea of a skatepark in the city surfaced before Cochran’s death.
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.
As this newspaper has reported before, Ware’s words proved prophetic.
Ware suggested the skatepark be named in honor of Patrick.
Not long after that, the public-private effort to build the skatepark began. At that time, the community got behind it by conducting many fundraising events.
The Washington Optimist Club and a group of volunteers raised about $110,000 to help pay for the 8,000-square-foot park. The city committed $85,000 to the project. Beaufort County committed $20,000.
From the beginning of the project, the community supported it as several groups and many people raised money for the skatepark by way of private donations, fundraising activities and other methods. PCM Skatepark clothing — sweatshirts, T-shirts and hoodies — 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.
As it has been noted before, it’s wonderful to see the city support the project. Although many towns, cities and counties build baseball fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, tennis courts, softball fields, a lesser number have constructed facilities for skateboarders, in-line skaters and participants in “extreme” sports. The Patrick Cochran Memorial Skatepark meets a recreational need in Washington that was unmet for too long.
Now that the skatepark is open, those people who use it should use it in a safe manner and follow the rules. It’s OK to test one’s abilities in those bowls and on those rails, but do it the right way.
Patrick would want it that way.