Skate park draws praise, criticism

By Matt Butner - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond city parks officials are raising questions about a skate park in South Richmond.

It's become a neighborhood hit, but the home-made course sits on city property, and the builder didn't have permission.

Derrion Boone was hard at work Tuesday morning at Carter Jones Park, practicing his moves.  For him, skateboarding is a challenge and an opportunity.

"I enjoy it, and I can experience more things while I'm skateboarding- and I can make more friends," said the 9-year-old.

He's been coming to the skating area since it was built a few months ago. And he's not alone.

"It started out where a couple of kids would show up, and that turned into 5 kids, 10 kids, 20 kids," said Donovan Greer, a local carpenter and skateboarder.

The park is Greer's handiwork. He and some friends saw a need, and got to work, building ramps and rails, slowly adding equipment.

Last Saturday, Greer was told that parks officials were concerned about his creation, citing safety and liability issues. For now, the park still stands, but Richmond skaters want something more permanent.

"If we can start by getting one skate park, maybe we can put it throughout the other communities and try to get it for everybody to enjoy," said Greer.

Greer says Richmond is one of the only localities in the area that has no public skate parks. Parents in this south side neighborhood say they approve of their skate park- even though it may only be temporary.

"I think it's a wonderful thing to have in the neighborhood," said Benita Gaines, a neighborhood parent. "It keeps the guys busy, keeps them out of trouble- it's positive."

Meanwhile, Gaines' son Derrion Boone kept practicing.

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