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Skatepark offers new venue for Asheville skateboarders
Hundreds of skaters and specta
tors attended the grand opening of
the Food Lion Skatepark Oct. 20,
featuring a professional demo, open
skating and live music.
“This park is amazing, one of the
best designs I have ever seen. It has
open and varied terrain, profes
sional construction and concrete
smooth as glass,” said Kate Bush, a
biology major at University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The new park is located across
Interstate 240, at the corner of
Flint and Cherry streets in
Almost five years in the planning,
the park was built this past summer
by Tearn Pain, the professional park
design and construction company
led by Tim Payne.
Michael Hosey, manager of the
new Food Lion Skatepark, said,
“It’s just the idea that if you build
it, they will come. I worked at the
old park on top of the parking deck
over the summer, and we rarely
had much of a crowd at all.
“Now that we have this great park,
there have been tons of people from
Asheville, and from as far away as
Raleigh, Wilmington, Tennessee,
Florida, Atlanta, and Richmond,”
Food Lion Inc. donated most of
the financial backing for the project,
about half of the $600,000 needed
to build the park.
Other partners in funding are
Doritos and Mountain Dew, with
media coverage from Mountain
Xpress and New Rock 93.3 The
“Once everything is complete with
the construction of the concessions,
bathrooms and the permanent
fence, it will be a fantastic facility
for skaters in Asheville and sur
GRAPHIC COURTESY OF FOODLIONSKATEPARK.COM
This graphic shows the design of the new Food Lion Skatepark, located at the corner of Flint and Cherry streets in Montford.
rounding areas,” said Laura Loftis,
an employee in the athletics depart
ment of Asheville Parks and Recre
Not only was the opening attended
by amateur skaters and spectators
from all over North Carolina and
surrounding states, but several pro
were present in support of the new
“I think it’s priceless. I’ve been skat
ing since in Asheville since I was 12,
now I’m 27. This park is something
that we really needed,” said Chris
Dow, team manager for Flipside
Skate Shop in downtown Asheville.
“It’s illegal to skate in the city oth
The old skate park, a temporary
one located on the top of the Civic
Center parking garage, has been de
teriorating for the last several years,
due to the old park’s exposure to the
“The old park was in pretty bad
condition,” said Evan Schafer, a
multimedia arts and sciences major
at UNCA. “Finally, skaters have
somewhere to go without getting in
trouble with public safety or the
Among the professional skate
boarders who attended the grand
opening were Chet Childress, spon
sored by Accel Wheels, Indepen
dent, Vans and 151 Boards.
Jud “Farmboy” Heald and Tim
Byrne, the number two-ranked
freestyle skater in the world, were
also there. Heald and Byrne put on
a demo for spectators Saturday,
representing the Columbus, Ga.-
based Manna Skateboard Co.
“It’s a world-class park, as good as
any professional park you will find
anywhere else in the world,” said
One of the new park’s biggest
supporters, Kevin Shelton,
Asheville native and professional
been pushing for the park since the
Shelton said he considered the
opening of the park Oct. 20 a high
point in his career.
Featuring three separate sections,
a minibowl, street course, and big
bowl, the park is designed to offer
something to skaters of every age
and experience level.
Although most students at UNCA
and citizens of Asheville probably
wouldn’t know the value of a pro
fessionally designed and built park,
the dedicated group of skaters in
Asheville and surrounding areas
most certainly do.
“It’s Team Pain, the number one
park builders in the nation, and
one of the best in the world for
sure, so this is a world class facility,
good enough for hosting a profes
sional skating competition,” said
“Finally, skaters have
somewhere to go with
out getting in trouble
with public safety or
the Asheville Police. ”
Tim Payne and the other Team
Pain employees, who have built and
designed over 50 skateparks around
the world and across the US, did the
design and construction of the Food
Lion Skatepark. Among other no
table parks completed by Team Pain
is the X-Games Skatepark in Phila
delphia, built specifically for the
2001 summer X-Games.
Although this past Saturday was
the grand opening of the park, it has
actually been open for about four
weeks to skaters, giving them as
much of the good seasonal weather
The Food Lion Skatepark has be
gun normal operations, hours of
operation and admission rates can
be found on the official Web site for
the new skatepark, located at
Much to the disappointment of
local BMX riders, the new park is
only open to skateboards and in
“Not to bicycles, due to the dam
age that bicycles would cause to the
skateable surface, causing that sur
face to degrade and become unsafe
for skateboards and in-line skaters,”
according to the Asheville Parks and
“Some people have complained
about bikes not being allowed, but
there is a meeting planned for Nov.
1 to look at doing something for
BMX riders,” said Hosey.
Italian cuisine with “Yav
WALTER FYLER/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
Vice chancellor Eric lovacchini cooks for
students in the UNCA cafeteria.
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"We should not let our fears hold us back from
pursuing our hopes.'
- John F. Kennedy
As we begin to pursue our hopes again,
let's remember to support the merchants in our region who are a vital thread in the fabric of our communities.