With the official opening of the new skate park at the Highlands Parks and Recreation Department in May, town officials said the new facility is an asset that will benefit the community.
“I think they’re (skateboarders) enjoying it and I’ve really seen their skills,” said Rec Department Director Lester Norris. “The kids that have just started skating have come a long way. It’s become the new place to hang out.”
Norris added that the skate park was designed by the American Ramp Company and was made possible by a donation of over $200,000 by Art Williams. The project took about three months to build and was completed in late April.
Riders could not be happier the park was built.
“I think this is excellent,” said Aaron Coin, 24. “It’s put together well and good for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders.”
Coin uses the park about twice a week and added that it covers both street and vertical skating well and he appreciated that the facility was free. However, he was a bit surprised at the park’s location.
“I was a little surprised they were building it in Highlands,” he said. “I thought it would be off the beaten path. It’s good that it’s at the Rec Park so it won’t get a bunch of graffiti with all of the other visitors and police coming through.”
Owen Munoz, 13, said he goes to the park often and it’s a fun place to hang out.
“A bunch of my friends live around here and it’s something to do over the summer and after school,” said Munoz. “It’s good because I saw how it turned out and I like it.”
Carson Forrester, 11 was skating on a sunny afternoon. He said he wasn’t heavily into skateboarding but once he started going to the park he thought it was fun.
“It’s a good hang-out spot to come and have fun with your friends,” said Carson. “My parents don’t like it when I come here by myself, but with friends it’s just better and more fun.”
Cam Ramey, 11 agrees with his fellow skaters.
I was excited because every time I come here I get better (at skateboarding),” said Ramey. “I’ve gotten better every single day and my best move is a kickflip.”
Itr’s not just skateboarders that appreciate the town’s skate park, parents also like something local to take their kids said Highlands resident Mandy Naron, who’s three boys are often at the park.
“I was really excited,” said Naron. “My boys have skateboarded since they were small and it’s rough traveling to Asheville, Cherokee or Atlanta. To have something here in their hometown is perfect. It’s something different and the kids are learning something.”
Town officials have publicly said that the cost of the park was possible by private donors. The park is open seven days a week from dawn until dusk.
Article and photos by Brian O’Shea