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Berkeley Springs skate park moves forward

March 16, 2009|By TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Getting the Berkeley Springs Bike and Skate Park (BS2) closer to reality has Matt Hovermale smiling. 

"After eight years of working toward this skate park, I'm very excited," said Hovermale, 25, one of the skate park's lead organizers.

Nate Wessel of Wesselbuilt LLC, a world-renowned skate park designer, released his design recently for the Harmison Field skate park, and it was met with enthusiasm.

"After the design was approved, I realized my dream is finally coming true. I can't put my excitement into words," Hovermale said. 

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The L-shaped 167-by-179-foot area encompasses all styles for BMX and skateboarding, he said. It mimics street riding that includes ramps with concrete benches and handrails. 

"There are no dead areas," Hovermale said. Traditionally, many skate parks have dead areas in the design, "but not Nate's," he said. 

"All the areas can be used by both bike and skateboards, and anyone from a beginner to a professional level can have fun in the park," he said.

He said BMX'ers and skateboarders enjoy riding in dry swimming pools that are called "bowls."  

Wessel's style is building bowls out of wood, instead of concrete, he said, and they can be changed and updated.  

Wessel is a BMX'er and skateboarder, and has made designs for the X Games. He is also one of the designers of four training facilities and summer camps in the U.S, including Camp Woodward near State College, Pa., Hovermale said.

"Anybody that enjoys BMX or skateboarding knows about Camp Woodward," Hovermale said. 

The skate park will be built at Harmison Field, which is on the corner of Ewing and Warren streets.

The next step is to raise the approximately $400,000 to pay for the project.

"We would like as much local support as possible," Hovermale said. "We really want this park to be part of our town and part of this area. It's for our community and it's for everyone with a passion for action sports. This park will increase tourism here because of the unique design by Nate Wessel."

Local resident Beth Raps, who has 25 years of fundraising experience, has volunteered her services for the project. Raps said she is looking for donations of all sizes.  

"I am very hopeful and excited about the response we've had so far," she said.

In-kind donations are needed to begin building the skate park, said Mike McKechnie, owner of Mt. View Builders, who is volunteering his time and resources for the park. 

"We are looking for local contractors to donate their services and/or materials to help with the construction of the park," McKechnie said.

Donated services sought include site work and materials, excavation help, stone and concrete for the foundation, finishers for the slab work, wood and fasteners for the ramps and equipment at the construction site, including large and small forklifts, McKechnie said.

McKechnie said he and Wessel are also looking for help from large lumber wholesalers to sponsor the project.

SENCO Fasteners has worked with Wessel in the past, McKechnie said, and "we're hopeful they will donate a significant portion of galvanized fasteners for the ramps."

McKechnie said donated materials will save a lot of money. He said Wessel said he can build the park in about eight weeks.

"The park could be ready to ride by the end of the summer, but we need to begin," Hovermale said.

 

 

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