COOKEVILLE –“There is an old saying about skate parks,” Cookeville Leisure Services Director Rick Woods said. “‘If your community doesn’t have a skate park, it is one.’”
That may have once been true for Cookeville. But not anymore.
The grand opening for the city’s long-awaited Park View Skate Park is June 20 at 3 p.m.
“This has been a desire of many in the community for a long time, and I am glad to see it finally finished,” Woods said. “It’s the only public skate park in Cookeville and, to my knowledge, the only concrete park in the region, so it fulfills a need for skaters in our area.”
The 10,000-square-foot skate park – funded by a $400,000 Local Parks and Recreation Fund grant administered by the Recreation Educational Services Division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation that was matched by the city – features everything skateboarders, rollerbladers and BMX bikers asked for in community input meetings. Plus, it was designed by Seattle-based Grindline Skateparks, a favorite among the skateboarding community, along with Nashville firm HFR Design.
Jason Lee of Cookeville was among several local skateboarders who got an early sampling of the stake park.
“You’ve got transitions, hips, quarter pipes, half pipes, bowls, rails, ledges, boxes – there’s all kinds of stuff out here – and different sizes for every (skill) level to try,” Lee said. “(You can) start small, get better and go bigger.”
Matthew Matheson is pleased with the new skate park as well.
“Grindline did a fantastic job,” Matheson said. “The finish is perfect; we’re just waiting for it to open.”
Matheson is also looking forward to seeing the different types of people who come out.
“I’m sure we’ll see tons of local people, maybe new people who have never skateboarded before, (and) a lot of people from Nashville, Knoxville… all over the country,” Matheson said.
Chris Smith is looking forward to the opening also.
“We drive three and four hours to go skating, so other people will too,” Smith said.
Public interest in a Cookeville skate park goes back several years, but the project gained momentum in 2016 when the city developed its master land use plan for Park View Park.
“The planning committee determined a skate park would be an ideal repurposing of the obsolete swimming pool property,” Woods said.
Not only that, it would provide a recreational opportunity for an underserved population – people who prefer wheeled activities to organized sports or the arts.
Blaise Barlow of Jackson County said, “It’s a long time coming, but we’re extremely thankful. It’s awesome – everything I could ask for.”
Rob Correll said it was worth the wait.
“(The skate park) could have been done multiple ways previous to this,” Correll said. “Waiting was the right thing to do. Grindline did an amazing job.”
Woods said the purpose of the skate park is to provide a safe, fun and wholesome environment for young people to lead active lifestyles away from the risks of skateboarding in streets and parking lots.
“Grindline designers came to Cookeville, got to know the site and members of our skate community, and designed our park uniquely for us,” Woods said. “The design is awesome and includes opportunities for skaters of all abilities and interests.
“We are grateful to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Recreation Educational Services Division for their support and assistance in making this park a reality. We also appreciate our other partners, HFR Design and FTM Contracting.”
Park View Skate Park, located at 570 Scott Ave., will be open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk starting June 21. Skateboards, inline skates, BMX bikes and other non-motorized wheeled riding devices designed for skate park use are welcome.
The facility will be unsupervised, so skaters will be using the park at their own risk.
Skaters are strongly encouraged to know their limits and abilities, to use protective equipment such as helmets and pads and to avoid skating when surfaces are wet and unsafe.
For more information, call Cookeville Leisure Services at 520-4386.
“I hope generations to come will get to enjoy it and learn something from it,” Smith said, “because there’s a lesson to be learned whenever you take on the concrete every day.”