A Walk in the Skatepark

Roll on down to the Bradenton Skatepark!

Zach Pelker, Staff Reporter

Beautiful, angelic, eye-popping. These are just a few words to describe the skate park’s true glory in this photo as the sun is setting. Such a peaceful picture, yet perhaps moments ago, people were riding their skateboards through this very spot. “It’s a beautiful place, also one of the best spots to cool off.”- Kaiden Wilson

The Bradenton Riverwalk skate park. Designed by the volunteer committee of Bradenton and opened on Oct. 18, 2012, boasts a handful of different activities you can do. Ranging from skateboarding, chilling and talking with friends. But of course, these activities did not come along without an immense amount of thought and planning behind them. Going back to Sep. 2011, the City of Bradenton was pushing the idea of adding a new Riverwalk to the community; a one and a half-mile path filled with beauty and friendly conversations. Along with this, they wanted to create certain activities to indulge yourself in as you walk down the trail. They added things like an amphitheater, playgrounds, a splash pad, and of course, the skate park.

Costing approximately 350,000 dollars, it took a little less than a year to build with major help from Team pain and Bradenton’s own people during community meetings. Originally, the GT Bray Recreational center was going to house a reserved skating area by retro-fitting a roller hockey area to fit the criteria of a skate park. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out and the project flopped. As a result, the City Council of Bradenton began looking into an area to put a skate park in, as many people wanted one to be built, as well as the fact that kids had begun to skate on private property and private buildings as a result of the lack of an area to skate. The city council had put a decent amount of time into finding an area perfect for something like a skate park to not only fit in but not flop. They had finally decided on the new Riverwalk that was being put in as an ideal spot for this skate park. Obviously, they couldn’t just put the park anywhere on the Riverwalk, however, as it was expensive and took up a lot of room. After careful planning, they decided on putting it under the Desoto Bridge, as it provided good cover and gave the park more of a “closed in” and comfortable feel, as well as giving the park a nicer look as you pass by. People also really wanted an area for volleyball, fishing and relaxing, this area under the bridge was able to fit all of that in, making it the most ideal spot for the build.

At the time, Public Transportation Department had actually owned that area, so a quick deal had been thrown in to buy the land from them. It was successfully purchased and several companies applied to build it, but Team Pain, a major skateboarding company won. They began their role as head of the ordeal while The Volunteer Committee of Bradenton had taken on the role of the design and layout of the park. Within a few months of the idea being brought up by the public, the skate park’s design had been complete and the construction had begun. Following the opening day Oct. 18, 2012, the park flourished. Many people skate there knowing that many of their ideas and opinions had gone into the build and design of the park. Each person there was kind and helpful. Traits built off of everyone coming together for one big project. One of these people is Ethan Alabran. A veteran skater is always willing to help new people at the park.

“I love the park and have skated here since I was 12 and just starting out, anyone who sees people skating and wants to try it out, then try it out! I was in your same shoes at one point, and I can confidently say you won’t regret making that decision. Legends have been made at this park, and we will all help each other to get there regardless of the challenge,” Alabran stated.

I enjoy going to the park to chill and skate in general. But even if you aren’t into skating, there’s still plenty to do. Ranging from playing in the premium volleyball courts, which are well kept and beautiful. To sit on a bench talking to friends while watching people ride around in the bowls or skate rails. And as I said, the park is built on the Riverwalk which means you have an amazing view of the Manatee River in all of its glory. Especially at night, the water reflecting the lights from the distant city is something to keep you coming back to the park every time you get the chance to skate. Usually, each time I go, I’ll make sure to meet up with a couple of friends to skate with. One of them is Ayden Terece, who I’ve known since I was around five or six. He taught me to skate and has given me extremely valuable life lessons.

“I used to come here just to learn tricks and impress everyone,” Terece announced, “but I’ve come to realize that up to this point, the things that have kept me running back to the park are the small things like the sunset or my friends, those are way more important to me than impressing anyone here.”

This park has been filled with surprises that have hit both me, and my friends ever since we began to skate there. Many of which improve us mentally, and physically. I have met many people at the park that have treated me like nothing but family, even when they did not know me at all. The Bradenton Riverwalk Skate park is built solely on kind and amazing people who help you when needed. They do not care what you have done or where you have brought yourself, but where you can take yourself.