Volunteers to fix up Port Royal skate park

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Volunteers to fix up Port Royal skate park



By JULIANN VACHON
jvachon@beaufortgazette.com
843-706-8184

info@islandpacket.com
Published Thursday, September 23, 2010   |  417 Words  |  

Volunteers are invited to gather Sunday at the skate park in Port Royal's Naval Heritage Park to replace damaged, unsafe surfaces and give the space a facelift.

"The more who come, the more we can get done," said Mike Green, lead pastor at Beaufort church The Link, which has worked with the town, park users and residents on the project. "We're hoping for 50 to 70 volunteers."

From 9 a.m. to noon, workers will replace skating surfaces with skateboard-grade material expected to last more than 10 years, spread fresh mulch and paint, Green said.

A bounce house will be set up for kids, and at noon, the church will sponsor a barbecue lunch for volunteers.

Port Royal spent less than $10,000 on materials for the renovation, town manager Van Willis said.

The Link's involvement with skaters and the park date back about three years, shortly after the church moved to the Beaufort area, Green said.

"Some of the most disadvantaged kind of latchkey kids in our community are at that park," Green said. "They spend a lot of time there, and it's part of their culture. ... Those kids are important, and we decided right away we wanted to invest."

Each Saturday, the nondenominational church hosts a "Burgers and Bibles" program, in which park-goers can "hang out, talk about skating, eat a Burger King burger, drink a Pepsi and talk about things in the Bible," he said.

About two and a half years ago, the church assisted the town with a major park renovation, but the wood the town purchased didn't stand up to the wear and tear, Green said.

The park "was in disarray and just really messed up," Green said. "We fixed it all up, but we cut some corners, and the skateboards have been so tough on that surface."

Church volunteers also helped build stairs, "grind bars" for skaters to skate down, and a hip, which allows skaters to turn a corner, Green said.

The church recently met with skateboarders and others who use the park to find out what is needed and to enlist their help, he said.

The 15-year-old park has had various repairs throughout the years, Willis said.

Town council members "decided during their last retreat that they really wanted to address the park and needed repairs," Willis said. "The stuff we bought this time is more resilient."