CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — An old parking lot underneath an I-64 bridge in downtown Charleston is now a much-awaited skating park.
City officials say skaters have been asking the city for a park like this one for 30 years.
Thursday saw a lot of different generations of skaters, BMX bikers, and scooterists come out to celebrate its grand opening.
While skateboarding culture may have started in the empty concrete swimming pools of Southern California, it’s made its way to the leafy hills of Charleston.
“I’m honestly excited to be here, this is the first park we’ve had in 15 years that’s brand new,” said Aaron Williams.
For skaters like Williams, growing up in Charleston there were limited options. He says he learned to skate at the now-closed indoor Focus SkatePark and Coonskin.
It’s why a lot of veteran skaters like Williams showed up to skate alongside the younger ones during Thursday’s grand opening of Charleston’s first public skate park at Magic Island.
“Growing up in Teays Valley we had a skate park, but you had to drive to it, something like here is real accessible for everybody on the East End, on the Westside, and everything like that,” said Mick Posey.
Charleston Mayor Amy Goodwin says the park, which is fenced off and shaded, was envisioned by them.
“It’s not us, the kids made this happen; they sat at the table with us, they told us what they wanted, they helped with the design of the park and some of the pieces of equipment that they wanted and that’s what most important about this park,” said Goodwin.
“This isn’t the city giving a park to the kids, the kids helped create a park for the City,” she said.
For skateboarding enthusiasts, it’s a place to get a good skating session in and to pass the sport on.
“If we could lean into this it would be fantastic, I think it would draw more of a skating crowd, more of a better community, especially for the kids,” said Williams.
The skate park is free and open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., all ages and levels are welcome.