Local skaters push for new Roanoke skate park

Published: Jun. 21, 2019 at 4:54 PM EDT
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A group of local skaters are asking for a change. This week, they presented a petition with over 2,000 signatures to the City of Roanoke asking for a new skate park.

Ryan Popynick has been skating for eight years.

"There's a great community, all my friends do it, and there's nothing I'd rather do with my friends then be out skating," Popynick, a local skater and member of Skate Park Initiative Team, said.

But he says he can't skate safely at Roanoke's Skate Park in Wasena Park

"Broke my teeth because of a hole in one of the ramps. I fell off the top of the ramp when I was doing a grind across it, my wheel got stuck in it, lost the board and just fell, so I broke my teeth because of that, so the ramps are in disrepair," Popynick said.

But Popynick tells WDBJ7 the ground is the worst part.

"The ground here is terrible, it's asphalt, it's chunky, it's not easy to ride on, you lose speed really quick," he said,

Outside of Roanoke, the closest skate park is 20 minutes away in Salem.

"I right now don't even have my own vehicle so I don't have access to that," Popynick said.

So Popynick has joined Roanoke's Skate Park Initiative Team to fight for a new park.

WDBJ7 checked in with Roanoke City Parks and Recreation to find out if they're on board.

"We went in together to develop a feasibility study on building a new skate park which would tell us what, where, how, how we would manage it," Michael Clark, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Roanoke, said.

They chose a spot adjacent to the existing park but it won't be built anytime soon, at least not in the next five or 10 years.

"A replacement for the skate park has come up, but ranked against all the other amenities that we need, there were several other things that our community told us they wanted us to do first," Clark said.

Some of the skaters think it should be a greater priority.

"A new skate park would bring new faces, more kids out here, the current state of our skate park now, it's really hard for a newcomer to really be comfortable out here and even learn anything when they have to struggle getting through a bumpy, rocky, deteriorating skate park in the first place," Tommy Medley, a local skater and member of the Skate Park Initiative Team, said.

"This is something I choose to do and you know it's not legal for me to go out and ride my board downtown or skate places I want to skate," Popynick said.