By SEAN RICE
More than two dozen residents, young and old, turned out Wednesday
to give grassroots support for a skateboard park in Celina.
Parks Director Jeff Fortkamp called on those who want to see
a skateboard park built in Celina to offer ideas on park design
and fund-raising possibilities.
“I’m not a skater, you guys need to tell me what
you want,” Fortkamp asked the roomful of teenagers packed
in a small conference room at the parks office.
Celina law bans skateboarding in most public places, and skaters
are often chased out of parking lots by police. Nationally,
skateboarding is more popular than baseball for 6- to 11-year-olds,
“Every year a skate park seems to get pushed to the back
burner,” he added. “But we’re going to try
to get this done regardless.”
Concerns of liability have kept the issue off the table for
discussion, Fortkamp said, but things have changed and a skate
park would not add liability on the city.
“There’s no more chance of us getting sued over
a skate park than over regular playground equipment,”
Fortkamp asked the teens, whose skateboards were stacked in
the corner, if they visited other skate parks, like in Greenville,
Wapakoneta and Lima.
“Wapak’s is kind of boring,” one skater said.
“Greenville’s is too,” another answered.
Lima’s park is decent, they said, but the park in Richmond,
Ind., is worth the three-hour drive. The park in Middletown
also is worth the 90-mile drive south.
Fortkamp laid out magazines displaying the different companies
that make composite wood and steel skate park equipment, asking
which they prefer. He also pointed out that Wapakoneta paid
nearly $40,000 for their equipment.
One skater said wood or steel equipment has limited possibilities
and is greatly overpriced compared to the poured concrete park
in Richmond. Unless a ton of money is spent on wooden equipment,
the park easily becomes boring.
“People drive three hours to go to Richmond on Saturdays.
Go to Wapak on a Saturday and there’s four 12-year-olds
there who live a block away,” said the skater touting
a cement park.
Wood composite breaks often, especially when used by freestyle
bicyclers, and steel equipment becomes too slippery or hot,
the skaters said.
Fortkamp said he has not yet investigated the costs of a concrete
“If we get the money to do this, we want you to go there,
and stay there,” Fortkamp said of the importance of their
A chicken dinner sale is tentatively set for this year’s
Celina Lake Festival, but getting started raising money sooner
was discussed. Also, it was noted that Lima used skateboard
competitions to raise money for the park.
Fortkamp said he will be gathering information on the cost of
concrete equipment and calling everyone who attended when another
meeting in set. He urged the group to help make it happen by
showing up for meetings and volunteering fund-raising labor.
“This is something we’re all going to have to do
together,” Fortkamp said.