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Plans forming for Chambersburg skate park, association

November 14, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, pa. - The owner of Cluggy's Amusement Center plans to open a skateboard park next spring, but John McGough says the design of the facility is being left largely to its future patrons.

"I want it to be what you guys want to do," McGough told a group of about 20 people, mostly teenage boys, who attended a meeting Thursday at the amusement center on Bedington Boulevard. It was the second meeting of what they hope will become the Chambersburg Area Skate Park Association.

"I'm committed to building a park and giving you guys a place to skate, but I want it to be your association," he said.

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What McGough is planning is a 75-foot-by-75-foot square slab of concrete upon which the ramps, mini-pipes, rails, pyramids and other features of the skate park will be constructed.

Several of the boarders were quick to make suggestions about the layout of the park and adults at the meeting were volunteering to help with its construction.

Tyler Ewan, 14, said the park ought to have a fun box. "It's just plywood ramps with rails and wax," said Ewan, who has been skateboarding for about two years.

Other suggestions were to have the park sectioned off into areas for beginner, intermediate and advanced skaters and the inclusion of a pyramid, which is a four-sided ramp with a platform on top.

The park will allow the skaters a place to skate locally and legally, rather than worry about being chased off the parking lots and sidewalks of Chambersburg, a number of the teens said.

Coltin Bowling, 13, said there are plenty of other youngsters in town who would use the proposed skate park, a place were they could practice kick flips, heel flips, tail slides, lip slides and other moves of the sport.

"Mine is the backslide flip," 11-year-old Lucas Koons said when asked his favorite move. With four years of skateboarding behind him, he is one of the group's veterans.

McGough, who bought Cluggy's about five years ago, said helping to form the association is good business since the skateboarders and in-line skaters are going to be the ones using the facility and can best tell him what it should offer.

"This is a way of a business like us to bring back the 8-to 18-demographic," he said.

Cluggy's offers batting cages and a variety of arcade games inside and go-carts and miniature golf outside.

Skateboarding is not an activity without risk, but McGough said skateboarding ranks below football, soccer and several other sports in terms of injuries to participants.

"I've rolled both ankles and broke one," Ewan said.

"I dislocated a finger," said Ryan Rockwell, 14.

Others said they had suffered plenty of bruises, sprains and brush burns from awkward landings and contact with the asphalt.

"Enough to say we know pain," Koons said. Like football players, they seemed to speak about their injuries with some pride.

McGough said skateboarding is the sixth-ranked participation sport in the country and growing, but youngsters have nowhere to go. By April, he said, that will change.

The next meeting of the Chambersburg Area Skate Park Association will be at 7 p.m. on Dec. 11 at the amusement center. McGough said there is information about the park on the Cluggy's Web site at www.cluggys.com.

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