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Kids roll into Pa. skate park

April 07, 2008|By By CHRIS CARTER

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. -- The banging of skateboards on newly poured concrete was drowned out by pure excitement Saturday at the grand opening of the Dunlap Family Skate Park.

A trick contest followed ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the park, which sits atop Pine Hill Regional Recreation Area, and more than 100 people -- most of them skaters -- came out for the official opening of the facility.

"Look at all these kids here, they're having a great time," said Washington Township manager Mike Christopher. "This will make Pine Hill a popular destination spot for a lot of kids. It doesn't do you any good to spend money on recreation if nobody's using it. Plenty of people will get use of this."

Amy Yokum, of Waynesboro, has brought her 6-year-old son, Jake, to the park almost every day since Washington Township officials opened it to the public two weeks ago.

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Yokum said she previously had to drive to Chambersburg or Frederick, Md., and pay a fee for a park for Jake to skate. Now, they can simply go a few miles east to get to the free Pine Hill facility.

"It's everything we expected, and more," Amy Yokum said. "It's incredibly convenient."

Jake Yokum was just 2 years old and a beginning skater when the first meeting was held for construction of a skate park, which was funded by Paul and Barb Dunlap for nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

Worldwide skatepark designer Spohn Ranch, based in California, constructed the park with input from skaters throughout the community. The project broke ground in October.

"The uniqueness of the park is that it's designed by the kids," said Jason Baldessari, design and sales consultant for Spohn Ranch. "The only way to know what the kids want is to ask the kids."

The pieces of the park were constructed in a controlled environment and shipped to Rouzerville, where concrete was poured around each of the elements.

The park features a five-stair, a C-ledge, a euro gap and various other rails, ledges and ramps. Perhaps the most popular obstacle is a brick bank ledge that flanks the front side of the park.

Each area of the park is aimed at a particular skill level.

"The Dunlaps insisted that the park not be designed only for upper skill levels," Christopher said. "They wanted to make sure that it was for different age groups."

Skaters ranged from as young as kindergarten students up to those in their 20s. Young skaters like Jake Yokum look up to experienced locals such as Cory Huber, 19, of Waynesboro, and R.T. Mulligan, 17, of Williamsport, Md., both of whom drew applause during the trick contest.

"In the big picture, it's all these kids skating and not getting into anything mischievous," Christopher added.

Only skateboarders and inline skaters can use the park, but skaters must first register with the township and the park is open every day from 10 a.m. to 30 minutes before sunset. Expected sunset times are posted at the entrance of the park, as well as a list of registered users and the rules and regulations.

A full list of rules and forms for the skatepark are available at www.washtwp-franklin.org.

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