The Martinsville Skatepark Project became the mission of a few parents when young skaters were seen using the city’s streets and sidewalks to skateboard. Stairs became jumps, parking blocks became rails, and empty parking lots were a place to show off the latest trick. Skaters were respectful of property and were kind and considerate. If they were asked to leave, they would. They followed posted rules, obeyed the law while looking for a place to enjoy skateboarding with their friends. The skaters moved from place to place to find the most acceptable and safe location, yet often found themselves landing in the same spot – the High School parking lot. Martinsville Skater Ezra Frederick expressed, “We need a place to skate together other than a parking lot, a skatepark will be a great place to have fun and make memories.” Teen skater, Sam Mayhew imagines, “A skatepark could open more opportunities in the future for other recreational activities like Switchyard in Bloomington.”
“Why don’t we have a skatepark?” became the small talk amongst parents of skating teens. In March 2022, the idea of a skatepark in Martinsville was presented at a city council meeting. All in favor, and with lots of nods from the crowd, the Martinsville Skatepark Project Advocacy Group was established and a partnership with the city’s government was formed. Mayor Costin appointed a liaison to the advocacy group who immediately put forth the city’s effort. The liaison visited skateparks across the state, met with other city officials to learn about their process, spoke with The Tony Hawk Foundation, and attended our monthly skatepark meetings, while the advocacy group researched fundraising, grants, possible locations, and design ideas.
Mayor Kenny Costin, City of Martinsville states, “Building a skatepark in Martinsville is something that has been talked about for years. This administration fully supports this project, and we look forward to continued work with the advocacy group as we bring this closer to becoming a reality.” This support from the city gave the advocacy group hope and ambition to keep the project moving forward. Teen skater, Preston Mayhew shares, “It feels really good that the city cares about what people want.” Together we have learned how well the city and community can work together to accomplish a goal. Justin Drake, parent to two teen skaters adds, “I am looking forward to seeing the kids’ faces when they put their wheels on the foundation they helped build. They get to look back and think about how they were there from day one and made a difference. Very few kids get to work alongside their city government on a project like this one.”
The Martinsville Skatepark Project has reached our first fundraising goal for the design of the skatepark, thanks to donations from our community members and supporting businesses. Thank you to the Community Foundation of Morgan County for connecting our project with donors and for striving to enhance the quality of life in Morgan County. We are reminded at every meeting that this is a 1,000 mile journey. I like to remember that this 1,000 mile journey started by taking just one single step.
The Martinsville Skatepark Project is still raising funds for the skatepark. Donations can be mailed or dropped off to the Community Foundation of Morgan County, Memo line: The Martinsville Skatepark Project.
Follow our journey on Facebook by joining The Martinsville Skatepark Project group where we update details after each meeting and post future meeting dates and times.