Saturday, December 4, 2021

Area crowd enjoys skate parks grand opening

July 1, 2002
Matthew Wein, 11, of East Lansing, waits for the new skateboarding facility to open at Ranney Skate Park 300 Frandor Ave. in Lansing, on Saturday. —

Lansing - Team Pain’s new skate park brought the opposite feeling to hundreds of skateboarders and in-line skaters Saturday when city officials and organizers finally opened Ranney Park’s newest addition near Frandor.

Jonathan Fox said the park is “awesome,” and he plans to compete there July 14.

“It’s really smooth,” the 11-year-old skateboarder said. “You don’t have to push yourself around a lot.”

Mayor David Hollister said a group of young children came to him in February 1998 asking for a skate park. He told them he would support the idea if they talked to the city council and the Parks and Recreation Department.

“I didn’t think I’d see them again,” he said.

“One month later they talked to all the council members, had an appointment with (the department) and even got sponsors.”

Hollister said he thinks Ranney will become one of the city’s most popular parks.

“It’s a dream come true for these young kids,” he said.

Councilmember Harold Leeman said he expects the park to become a destination for skaters around Michigan.

The $365,000 park, designed by Team Pain owner Tim Payne and pro skater Andy Macdonald, is expected to draw visitors from around Michigan. Payne’s Florida-based company has designed hundreds of skate parks around the country and has made ramps for ESPN’s X-Games.

Pete Bosheff, board president of the Lansing Area Skate, Bike and Recreation Foundation and a major backer of the park, said other parks in Michigan can’t compare with Team Pain’s design.

“You don’t know how lucky you are,” he said to skaters in the crowd before the ribbon-cutting.

George Leichtweis, the foundation’s finance chairman, said the skate park is part of a larger $700,000 project including a repaved parking lot, landscaping, fences, benches and tennis courts.

The cost of building the skate park is included in that figure, he said.

Leichtweis, who also owns Modern Skate & Surf, said he’s been trying to get the city to build a skate park in the area since 1985.

His business recently moved from its East Lansing location to the Frandor Shopping Center, 300 Frandor Ave.., which is closer to the skate park.

With the high number of skaters using the park Saturday, several people noted its small size.

“It’s not big enough,” Leichtweis said. “We need a bigger park.”

Fox agreed.

“It’s hard not to get hit or rammed,” he said. “I ran into a guy over there and wiped out.”

Mary Fox, Jonathan’s mother, is a nurse at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital and deals with minor emergencies.

“My boys have all their pads,” she said.

“It’s the same thing with biking, they have to wear their helmets.”

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