Monday, October 8, 2001
Deltona skaters say park worth the wait
By MICHAEL HAUN | News-Journal Staff Writer
DELTONA — A helmet-clad young girl asked her biking partner if he was ready to take the short, but steep, plunge.
"Are you scared?" she yelled, before zipping down the concrete ramp on her street-style bicycle.
Many of these skaters, bladers and bikers who gathered at Deltona's new skate park paused to soak in the brightly painted ramps, obstacles and railings.
And then they put their wheels to work with youthful gusto during the 15,000-square-foot course's opening day Saturday morning.
Jake Garland of DeBary said he's waited for months to try out his skateboarding skills at the course at the Lake Butler Recreation Complex.
"I've been waiting for a while," the 12-year-old Deltona Middle School student said. "And it was worth it."
John Buchanan knows exactly how much anticipation has surrounded Deltona's first-ever skating park.
When Buchanan, the city's parks and recreation coordinator, showed up at the Courtland Boulevard facility Friday night to install some finishing touches, he had to chase off about 35 skaters who had climbed a fence to get inside the course.
Buchanan took it all in stride, and said he understands that there aren't many places for West Volusia kids to make use of their in-line skates, skateboards and bicycles.
"It takes these kids out of the parking lot and off of the streets," he said.
The course was designed by Tim Payne, who has built similar facilities for ESPN's X Games, a sort of Olympics for the extreme sports set.
And local kids offered input to the city as well, Buchanan said. That's why on Saturdays and Sundays, two hours are being set aside for bikers, many of whom e-mailed requests to use the course to Buchanan.
The city has set up certain rules for the skate park. Skateboarders and bikers must have a signed and notarized release form on file with the city before they can use the course. It's free to use for city residents and $3 per day for skaters who live outside Deltona.