Skateboard park opens in London

By Jane Beathard

July 1, 2014

Take your chances.

That’s the advice Colby Gulick, a seventh-grader in London City Schools, handed out Tuesday as he became the first to fly over quarter pipes at the city’s new skate park on Park Avenue.

Gulick was a student in Christina Staifer’s second-grade class five years ago when he suggested to Mayor Dave Eades that London needed a safe place for skateboarders to hone their skills. It was all part of a class project that encouraged students to contact local officials and express their concerns.

“I didn’t think it would happen,” Gulick said.

At the time, Gulick did most of his “boarding” at a park in Grove City, where he lives part-time.

But Eades and former parks and recreation director Ryan Ladd listened. They visited Staifer’s classroom and promised to explore the idea.

City officials applied for a $20,000 NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources 18 months ago. They promised to match the money with about $17,000 in new asphalt to resurface the former public tennis courts, according to safety-services director Steve Hume.

ODNR granted the request, based on the substantial match, Hume said.

All new equipment (except “grind rails”) was in place by Monday — just in time to meet a June 30 deadline required under the state grant.

As a gesture of appreciation, Eades invited Gulick to unofficially open the facility on Tuesday.

A formal grand opening is set for 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 4.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 1616 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.