Dunlap family helps turn dirt on Pa. skate park they helped to fund

October 03, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. - Paul Dunlap doesn't visit Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area much, but that could change.

Dunlap, on the eve of his 70th birthday, was lauded at a groundbreaking ceremony for a skate park that he and his wife funded. The lifelong Waynesboro, Pa., area residents stood back Tuesday while others spoke publicly about the park and stuck gold shovels in the dirt for the occasion.

"I'm going to pull right up there on the hill and watch them," Dunlap said, pointing to the parking area that overlooks the soon-to-be skate park.

A white outline in the grass shows where five tractor-trailers will unload concrete obstacles forming the $218,000-plus skate park.

Neither Dunlap nor his wife, Barb, expressed desire to give the quarter pipes a try. One of their grandsons, Caleb Shank, has been skateboarding for eight years, but Barb Dunlap said the skate park is for many more youths and not just about Caleb.


"It's all something that was part of the township vision long before we became a part of it," she said.

Caleb said he pays a fee to use a Frederick, Md., skate park when he is looking for a good place to try tricks. The new one that will be installed in the coming months off Mentzer Gap Road a few miles east of Waynesboro is designed to have something for everyone, he said.

"I like to skate ledges, but a lot of my friends like to skate stairs and rails," said Caleb, a 16-year-old junior at Waynesboro Area Senior High School.

"We tried to make it so, generally speaking, it fit all the age levels and levels of experience. We found that the skateboarders work together when there's a young person who is trying to learn," said Jerry Zeigler, Washington Township's code enforcement officer who was jokingly called the "park guru" on Tuesday.

Area skateboarding enthusiasts attended a series of meetings in the Washington Township, Pa., municipal offices to register their wishes for the facility, which was designed by California-based ARTIFEX.

Their input was essential, said Carlene Willhide, the executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

In her first week as Chamber director, she told a group of skateboarders that it wasn't safe for them to be riding the rails and sidewalks outside her offices.

"They said, 'But we need a place.' I said, 'Well then, you need to let your voice be heard,'" Willhide said.

"From teaching school and teaching 15- to 18-year-old boys for 10 years, it seems that the No. 1 issue on their minds as far as recreation is skateboarding," state Rep. Todd Rock, R-Waynesboro, said, referring to his previous career as a Franklin County (Pa.) Career and Technology Center instructor.

The skate park will improve the quality of life in the township and region, Paul Dunlap said.

"This is my birthday gift," he said.

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