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Denton skate park petition a success, plans underway

Denton skate park petition a success, plans underway

Sam O'Donnell and the co-owners of Denton Skate Supply have worked together to create a new skate park. O'Donnell is spokesperson to bridge the gap between the needs of the skatepark and the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department. Tomas Gonzalez

Denton skate park petition a success, plans underway
August 31
16:59 2016

A small crew of skaters at Denton Skate Supply is looking beyond selling skateboards and more towards benefitting Denton’s skateboarding community.  The crew, dedicated to all things “skate” in Denton, have petitioned the city to build a new skate park. Their petition convinced the city of their cause and plans for a new park are now underway.

“We drink here, we eat here, we party here, we spend our money here, we live here [and] we work here,” Denton Skate employee Derek Vitiello said.  “The only thing we don’t do is skate here.”

Vitiello, 23, is one of less than 10 employees at Denton Skate Supply and specializes in longboarding and used car sales. He also helped to petition the city.  The petition put together by the skate shop crew received just around 1,200 signatures, according to Vitiello.  Frustration and complacency are two of the main amenities found in the old skate park, which is home to outdated skate ramps, lack of energy and overall downtrodden hopes and dreams of big air and runs.  The skate shop could no longer take the “eyesore,” and put together a petition, circa September 2014, for something more tailored to the talent of skaters in the Denton community.

“Of course when you tell skaters and people that come in all the time, ‘Hey, we’re starting a petition!’ you know, they’re like, ‘Cool, where do I sign?’” Vitiello said.  

Crit Kiley and his older brother, Josh, are co-owners of the skate shop and have been skating since they were just kids.  Dedicated to the cause, Crit is excited for the project and where it is headed.  However, because it is such a grand endeavor, set with a price tag of roughly $1.5-2 million, there isn’t always smooth sailing and often times momentum is halted.  

“They do seem pretty understanding about the whole thing though,” Crit said.  “We’ve just got to keep on them.”

Since gaining the signatures, the Denton Skate crew has attended city council meetings, put together presentations and worked closely with city representatives from Parks and Recreation to expedite the process.  

Sam O'Donnell and the co-owners of Denton Skate Supply have worked together to create a new skate park. O'Donnell is spokesperson to bridge the gap between the needs of the skatepark and the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department. Tomas Gonzalez

Sam O’Donnell and the co-owners of Denton Skate Supply have worked together to create a new skate park. O’Donnell is spokesperson to bridge the gap between the needs of the skatepark and the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department. Tomas Gonzalez

Jim Mays, Superintendent of Planning and Construction with the city of Denton Parks and Recreation Department, says he is excited to get the project going.  

“Before we go … to design, what I always like to do is make sure we’re doing things the safest way possible,” Mays said.

So far, Mays has delegated an engineer to work with several focus groups, put together by Denton Skate Supply, to come up with plans to redesign and rearrange the old skate park.

Sam O’Donnell of Denton Skate Supply is chair and spokesperson for a skate park committee that has been put together to get the kinks worked out for this project. Another one of O’Donnell’s jobs is to make sure open communication is maintained between the city and those involved with the project.  The committee is made up of a chair, subchair, secretary and roughly 12 other members.  They work closely with the city and the focus groups to make sure that plans for the skatepark run smoothly and that the final product is everything they want it to be.  

“We’ve expressed our desire to have it as center to Denton as possible – as close to the Square or in between the two major campuses to be more accessible,” O’Donnell said.

O’Donnell and the committee has put together three focus groups to get accurate representation from the skate community on what should be in the designs of the project. O’Donnell says the focus groups have been anywhere from larger groups with public input, to smaller, more intimate groups wherein private consultants would lend expertise and insight for the new park. The advantage of having these focus groups is having access to people with a passion for their project who will come up with creative concepts for the new park that skaters and community members could all enjoy.

“I know there’s a big trails, or ‘mobility plan’ is what they’re calling it, coming up here soon that’s going to get built,” O’Donnell said. “There’s supposed to be trails all around Denton, like walking and hiking trails.  You know, if you could throw in one little skate obstacle every five miles, ten miles, something like that, just to kind of have something for each neighborhood to skate. Not a huge skate park, but even one little obstacle that’s allowed to be skated without getting stopped by the police.  It would be a huge benefit to the neighborhood surrounding it.”

Mays, spirited about getting Denton a new park, said he wants to make sure he is doing right by the community.

“I fully agree that this is something that we need,” Mays said.  “It’s a signature element that we want in our community and I’m 100 percent behind it.”

Featured Image: Sam O’Fonnell and the coowners of Denton Skate Supply have worked together to create a new skate park. O’Donnell is spokesperson to bridge the gap between the needs of the skatepark and the City of Denton Parks and Recreation Department. Tomas Gonzalez 

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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2 Comments

  1. Skater
    Skater October 12, 07:47

    WOW!! LES DO IT!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Elnor
    Elnor November 14, 22:27

    Hopefully they move it within walking distance of downtown/the schools.

    Reply to this comment

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