There aren’t many places to skateboard in Charlottesville.
The city closed its skate park on McIntire Road during construction of the U.S. 250 Bypass and John Warner Parkway interchange in 2012 and moved it to McIntire Park. And last month, it closed the second location, too.
Nineteen-year-old Piedmont Virginia Community College student David Juers says it’s been tough to find a place to break out his board—and he and his skater friends still hit the desolate park from time to time to get their fix.
“We kind of just hop the fence and skate it,” he says. “Every once in a while, cops will come and kick us out.”
His other haunts include the splash pad at Tonsler Park and a couple of skate spots around UVA, but Juers says he’s waiting with bated breath for the completion of the $2 million McIntire Skate Park that’s been on the books since 2012.
“All those delays happened and it’s been pushed back so many years now,” Juers says. “The excitement had gone down, but now that the project is starting up again, it’s definitely exciting. When it does get done, it’s going to be so awesome.”
The city announced in January that it would finally begin building two projects that City Council approved six years ago under McIntire Park’s master plan. Construction of the skate park and a $2.5 million pedestrian bridge across the Norfolk Southern Railroad—which will connect the east and west sides of the city park—is scheduled to begin March 5.
Parks & Recreation Director Brian Daly says the new park will be a “wheel-friendly social space” open to bikes and in-line skaters, too. Features of the park, scheduled to open in November, include a butterfly bowl and a flow bowl, a half pipe, a pump bump, a sculptural brick bank and several grinding ledges.
“There will be an emphasis on programming at the facility, with various levels of skate camps and classes to include beginner, intermediate and advanced private lessons, local and regional competitions and special events,” adds Daly.
During the buildout, access to the south side of McIntire Park from the westbound 250 bypass will be limited to construction, service and emergency vehicles.
Though the city contributed most of the $2 million in funding, it wasn’t alone. The Tony Hawk Foundation, founded by one of the country’s most prominent skating legends, donated $25,000 for the park.
“Tony is a great guy,” says Juers. “My friends and I appreciate his donation, and we hope he comes out opening day to skate with everyone. He made it possible to get a skate park that will put Charlottesville on the map.”