Lansing - Team Pains new skate park brought the opposite feeling to hundreds of skateboarders and in-line skaters Saturday when city officials and organizers finally opened Ranney Parks newest addition near Frandor.
Jonathan Fox said the park is awesome, and he plans to compete there July 14.
Its really smooth, the 11-year-old skateboarder said. You dont 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 didnt think Id 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 citys most popular parks.
Its 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. Paynes Florida-based company has designed hundreds of skate parks around the country and has made ramps for ESPNs 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 cant compare with Team Pains design.
You dont know how lucky you are, he said to skaters in the crowd before the ribbon-cutting.
George Leichtweis, the foundations 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 hes 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.
Its not big enough, Leichtweis said. We need a bigger park.
Its hard not to get hit or rammed, he said. I ran into a guy over there and wiped out.
Mary Fox, Jonathans mother, is a nurse at Lansings Sparrow Hospital and deals with minor emergencies.
My boys have all their pads, she said.
Its the same thing with biking, they have to wear their helmets.