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New skate park in Foster Park proves popular

Design, construction completed by Kokomo-natives

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Skate park

ON BOARD — Skateboarders enjoy the city’s newest skate park in Foster Park last Thursday. The park was designed and constructed by Kokomo-native Bart Smith and Hunger Skateparks.

The city’s newest skate park, located in Foster Park, has proven popular since opening late last year.

Last December, construction wrapped up on the 12,455-square-foot skate park, located on the east side of Foster Park near Washington Street. The $427,000 project was completed by Hunger Skateparks, located in Bloomington, Ind., that’s co-owned by Bart Smith, a Kokomo-native who was inspired to build his first ramps as a 12-year-old biker and skateboarder in the City of Firsts.

“I’ve built parks from Gun Barrel City, Texas, to New York City, but this Kokomo job is such a special project to me and very thankful for the opportunity. As a kid in Kokomo, I always built wooden ramps and dreamed of interesting new spots, but years later when I discovered concrete sculpting, I knew it was on,” Smith said.

Smith employed other Kokomo-natives to come back and work on building the project. With many of the employees being active skaters as well, the opportunity provided a sense of community and giving back for the workers as they helped to create a place for others to enjoy the sport.

Even with other skate parks in Kokomo, members of the Kokomo Parks and Recreation Department felt the city needed to provide a different style of skating to the area for a new audience of skaters and more balance for the overall skate scene in the City of Firsts.

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“This is more of a street style of skating. The big skate park out at Jackson Morrow is pretty advanced for a lot of the skaters who are around Kokomo," said Torrey Roe, superintendent of the Park and Recreation Department. "It’s a lot more bowls, and there’s a bent 360-degree pipe out there. So, it’s a different style of skating and will cater more to what the clientele is here in Kokomo."

Easily accessible from the trails, the skate park gives more advanced skates, rollerbladers, and bicyclists a place to enjoy the activities. The skate park includes some smaller ramps and pipes, as well as different levels of transitions to jump onto or off of.

“It’s an avenue that we are able to hit that population, which is sometimes hard to target in that teenage area to give them things to do that are going to keep them out of trouble and allow them to burn some energy and do what they enjoy doing as well,” Roe said.

Smith said he was happy to help make it happen.

“This new skate park at Foster Park will add a new feature to the amazing parks in Kokomo and provide another place to go outside and stay active for people of all kinds,” Smith said.