Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sk8r Boi!

What a wondrous thing to behold is a community coming together and working together to get something done..

Skate on, Dudes.

Skate park a labor of love for local family

- The Herald-Zeitung

Austin Gilmore looked toward the 1,700 square feet of clean, unscuffed gray concrete that stretched in front of him.

The 5-year-old grinned as he clicked his helmet under his chin and grabbed his skate board.

Austin’s dad, Josh Gilmore, watched on as his son dropped down a ramp and weaved in and out of teenagers twice his size. The new JAWS Skate Park at Eikel Park at the corner of Grape Street and Spur Street was unveiled and opened to the public Saturday morning.

“He’s been skating since December,” Josh Gilmore said proudly. “He’s been asking me every morning ‘how much longer, how much longer,’ until the park is open.”

The day couldn’t come sooner for Jamie Skinner either. Skinner brought the idea to his parents in 2006, when he was 16 years old. Since then, Skinner said his family and the community rallied around him to raise the necessary $480,000 to pay for the park.

“I’m pretty much speechless today,” Skinner said, grinning ear-to-ear. “It was three long years, but we had spectacular help from the city and everyone else. There were some bumps in the road, but today I’m amazed and ecstatic it all came together.”

His mother, Cary Skinner, said the family was quick to help Jamie realize his dream.

“What is a mother to do?” Skinner asked. “We support our children in anything they want to do.”

The project brought the Skinner family closer to the community, she said.

“We learned we have the most receptive, the most generous and most helpful community,” she said.

Jamie Skinner said the effort brought his family closer together, a positive side effect.

“I know it sounds cliché, but it’s a dream come true,” he said. “That’s pretty much all I can say.”

With that, he grabbed his skate board and headed toward the park to join New Braunfels Mayor Bruce Boyer in cutting the ribbon.

Cheers rose up and the hundreds of skate boards slapped their trucks to the ground as the ribbon fell. “Clack, clack, clack” was the sound of the newly christened JAWS skate park.

“What are you waiting for?” Jamie Skinner shouted to the crowd. “Let’s skate!”

The all-concrete park is open to the public and admission is free.