Skate Park Opens in Wauwatosa After 13 Years of Development
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On Saturday, November 2nd, the long-awaited skate park in Wauwatosa had it’s opening, commencing with a ribbon cutting. As skateboarders, bikers, and scooter riders lined the edge of the pavement eagerly waiting to try it out for the first time, many only had a glimpse of what it took to build the skatepark. Numerous efforts were made to have the skatepark come to reality, and some of it didn’t come easily.
The project idea had been lingering for a long time in Wauwatosa. Thirteen years, to be exact.
“I’ve been involved since 2002, believe it or not, since the very beginning,” said Alderman Jeffrey J. Roznowski. “I used to be on the Youth Commision. The very first meeting I was at in 2002, this was on the agenda. Potential skate park. These young kids would come to the meetings, and would tell us they want this, how do they go about doing it.”
“I’ve been waiting for about twelve years for this park to be built,” said Alec Poulos, a skater at the park. “It’ll help the younger generation get involved, and help build the scene for bikers, riders, and skateboarders.”
Just last month, a 11-year-old was hit by car in a tragic accident here in Wauwatosa, weeks before the skate park’s opening. His name was Quinn Richardson, and he attended Longfellow Middle School. Quinn was reportedly riding his skateboard at the scene of the accident.
“[Quinn] was so looking forward to the skate park,” said Mike Doyl, in the opening ceremony.
For those involved in the massive project, it took a lot of hard work and imagination to put together.
“I own my own company, and I helped organize everything [for construction]. That’s why I’m here,” said Roger Dunn. “To see it all come together, and see kids actually skating on it is pretty incredible.”
“Instead of being in the streets, skateboarding when shouldn’t skateboard,” continued Roger Dunn. “Now they actually have somewhere to take care of skateboarding.”
Although planning started early, there has been some bumps in the road to get the park here today, causing the construction of it to be delayed.
“From the beginning the city was good, and they said that we could have this plot of land down here to build a park,” said Mike Doyl, a driving force behind the park’s construction. “The biggest challenge was raising the money. Initially, the city said we don’t have any money in the budget for a skatepark. It was a big hurdle to overcome. One of the biggest problems we found with the fundraising is, when you don’t have any money, nobody wants to give you money. People don’t actually want to give money until they know the project is going to go through. It’s a real catch-22. When you need it the most, you can’t get it. “
One major inspiration for him, was the death of his son, Jack Doyl. Almost ten years-ago to date, he died playing “the choking game”. Unaware of the potential dangers of the game, it cost him his life. As a member of the organization Tosa Skateboarders United, Jack wanted of skate park for all to enjoy in Wauwatosa.
“He would be ecstatic. It’s the kind of thing he could only dream about,” said Mike Doyl. “He and his friends just wanted a place that was local in Wauwatosa, that they could skate.”
For more information on Wauwatosa’s new skate park addition, go to http://tosaskate.org/.
Written by Teresa Toohill