February 1, 2008 - Mayor Bill Haslam and Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale helped open the long-awaited Knoxville Skatepark today.
The 15,000-square-foot park, which includes urban terrain like rails, ramps and ledges, is located on what had been the infield of the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers Softball Stadium in Tyson Park.
Work on the $537,000 skate park designed by Wally Hollyday, began after an August groundbreaking.
"This is a day that a lot of folks have waited a long time to see," Haslam said. "This is a great example of the good things that can happen when governments and citizens work together to turn a dream into a reality."
"We're opening a great skate park that is going to bring a lot of joy to so many athletes and performers who haven't really had a venue for their sport," he added.
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 added an additional $25,000.
Local skaters and supporters added another $12,000 to the park's construction.
The idea for the park has been around for several years and local skateboarders had engaged in an intense lobbying campaign supporting it.
Landscaping work around the exterior of the park is incomplete but both Ragsdale and Haslam wanted to move forward with the opening because the surface is ready for skaters.
Skaters were already lining up outside the gates more than an hour before Thursday's 4 p.m. opening.
"This is going to be a wonderful place for both the young and young-at-heart skateboarders," Ragsdale said."This is something the county and the city and a lot of people have worked hard to make happen and we're very pleased to open this park."