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Skate Park of Plymouth opens to rave reviews



SKATE
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Happy landings! Skate board enthusiasts of all ages gathered at the newly opened Skate Park of Plymouth this past weekend for a Skate Jam to celebration the completion of the first phase of the project. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)

SKATE
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Happy landings! Skate board enthusiasts of all ages gathered at the newly opened Skate Park of Plymouth this past weekend for a Skate Jam to celebration the completion of the first phase of the project. (Marcia Morris) (click for larger version)
September 21, 2011
PLYMOUTH—After years of planning, fundraising, community organizing and hard work, the Skate Park of Plymouth opened this past weekend with a festive Skate Jam, complete with music, food, raffle prizes and a sense of tremendous accomplishment.

"This is what we have all been working for so long," remarked Skate Park Board member Rich Gowen. "It is just super to see so many kids here using the park. It proves the truth of the saying — if you build it, they will come! It's a beautiful day. It's not overcrowded, everybody is riding, and we are all having fun."

A long line of boarders lined the periphery of the new skate bowl, or "pool," as some would call it, waiting their turn patiently.

Plymouth State University student Nicholas Doucette was grinning from ear to ear. He said he had come back early from a trip home to Massachusetts for the weekend so that he could be there to help celebrate the grand opening.

His father, Paul, had traveled up to Plymouth with him to get a chance to see the new park, and to take some video of his son skating the "pool" with a new, fully equipped high tech, cell phone camera.

"This is really exciting," said Nicholas. "This skate park is just awesome. The guys who built it did a really good job. The 'pool' is mellow. It will be fun to try stuff out."

And according to his father, Nicholas really knows whereof he speaks. Nicholas spent his high school years up at Waterville Valley Academy, training as a snowboarder.

"He lived a pretty charmed life, traveling around the country, snowboarding at all sorts of events," said Paul Doucette. "He is a really incredible snowboarder. So I am very happy for him. He's going to love that this is here."

Nicholas said that during his years at Waterville, he grew to love this part of the country and really enjoyed living here, so when it came time for college, he ultimately decided on PSU.

"But I had no idea there was going to be a skate park here," said Nicholas. "So when I showed up for the first week of classes and saw this skate park, I was just blown away. This is really something amazing."

Of course, the first week of classes at PSU the Skate Park, like much of riverfront Plymouth, had been covered in brown water from the flooding in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene.

"The 'pool' was really a "pool' at the time," said Nicholas. "But you wouldn't have wanted to swim in it."

But just a few short weeks later, the site was cleaned up and ready to roll.

Nicholas said that he was enjoying hanging out, just watching a lot of the younger local kids at the park.

"Some of them are really good," said Nicholas.

He was not alone. Dozens of parents and community members watched in awe as one by one, the boarders took their turns going airborne on the runway jump. There was no shortage of cell phone cameras and video recorders, either. It was impressive to watch the patience and respect afforded each and every boarder, no matter how tall or small.

Plymouth Rotary Club members flipped burgers in one corner of the newly fenced in park, while community volunteers help sign kids up to use the facility. Each person is required to sign a waiver before using the skateboard park, and every user is expected to abide by the rules that are posted prominently for all to see.

Skate Park of Plymouth President Mike Currier says that one important part of the Park will be helping young people to feel the pride of community ownership and help to keep the Park safe and clean to all to use. He expects there to be many community programs and activities taking place there in the future.

There is still much more work to be done, with landscaping and additional elements to be completed in the months ahead. But already, the fun has begun.

AJ Coleman
Varney Smith
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