"It's going to be a great skate park that will bring a lot of joy
to athletes and performers who really haven't had many places to
practice their sport," he added.
The new facility is being built by highly regarded skate park designer
Wally Hollyday, whose California-based firm has built more than
100 skate parks across the United States. Hollyday took part in
The City of Knoxville and Knox County each provided $200,000 for
the project while Lamar Advertising gave $100,000 toward its construction
and the Tony Hawk Foundation kicked in an additional $25,000.
Individual supporters and groups also donated several thousand
additional dollars for the park.
The idea for the park has been around for several years and local
skateboarders engaged in an intense lobbying campaign supporting
The park became more than an idea in 2005 when Haslam included
the $200,000 appropriation for a skate park in the city's 2006-07
budget and Ragsdale soon matched that in the county's budget.
Lamar followed with its contribution.
"Kids didn't have a place to skate," said Brian Beauchene,
a skateboarder who owns Pluto Sports, "and this provides a
place for kids to skate where parents are comfortable with them
Beauchene said the Knoxville Skatepark would draw skaters from
across East Tennessee in addition to the skateboarding population
in Knoxville and Knox County, which probably numbers in the low
Beauchene and skateboarders Nate Holder and Jay Cabler were key
members of the Knoxville Skatepark Task Force, which was formed
to help develop the park.
Councilman Chris Woodhull was heavily involved in the effort to
develop a skate park and co-chaired the task force along with Knox
County Parks Director Doug Bataille.
Bataille and Joe Walsh, deputy director of the city's parks and
recreation division, also worked closely together to develop the
"Doug and I organized the skate park task force to make some
decisions about where it would be and what it would look like,"
Woodhull said. "We wanted to find out about the different concerns
Woodhull indicated that the diverse group synthesized all the different
ideas about the proposed skate park into something uniquely suited
This is the first phase of a skate park, which is expected to grow
"Sometimes we don't hear the needs of our young people as
well as we should," Ragsdale said. "I'm proud to say that
we heard them and the result will be a wonderful and safe place
for both the young and young-at-heart skateboarders."
For more information about the Knoxville Skatepark please visit