Park skates toward an $11k upgrade


Max Van Wie

Justin Christopher

The Johnson Skatepark was recently given $11,800 dollars in grant money to improve and add to the current park.
The money will cover materials and labor for the completion of the project that is planned to finish in October of this year.
Johnson students and locals alike use the park nearly every day in the permitting seasons.
Ethan Haddad, JSC senior and local skater, uses the park frequently and is excited about the projected improvements made possible by the grant money.
“The Johnson Park has always been above average as far as town skateparks go,” said Haddad. “It flows and rides well and it’s obvious that someone actually put thought into its over rideability before all the ramps were built and placed. I think that skaters and bikers recognize this and that’s why it’s so popular. I can’t wait to see what will be added to the park and how much better it will be.”
Another local park that was recently built in Newport, Vt.,was funded in the same way. This park was built reflecting advice given by local skaters, also similar to the way that the Johnson skatepark was built.
Former JSC student Justin Christopher took a leading role in the fund raising and building of the Newport Park and is now volunteering some of his time at the Johnson Park as well.
“The future plan, as far as I know, involves new concrete features, new ramps, and just an overall clean up of the park,” said Christopher. “I last heard that there are plans for a bowl, a couple street styled features based off of different spots, ledges, transition features and I know a six-foot half pipe is in the plan. It’s all still up in the air though nothing is set in stone.”
A lot of the frequenters at the Johnson skatepark were under the impression that the park would be closer to completion by now. With two ramps torn down and only one mini ramp in their place, the park has only downsized since the money came in.
“Originally the park was supposed to be finished by October but they have had some setbacks, so I don’t think that it will even be finished this year,” said Christopher. “It seemed to be off to a slower start at the beginning of the summer and then part way through someone broke into the tool room and stole all of the tools. So, that set the schedule back some.
“With grant money though, if you don’t use it within a certain time period, it’s taken away, which is crappy because it’s hard to get grant money. It involves a lot of letters and phone calls.
“We are really fortunate to have the money we have for this park but it would be good to see the process sped up a little bit. There are so many people who want this done, want nice ramps to skate, and want to help out and are willing to volunteer their time.
“It all really comes down to people putting in the time and getting the work done now. I think if the work doesn’t get finished soon, skaters are going to start stepping up and volunteering their time.”