Worley’s foundation teaches autistic children how to skateboard. The organization sets up and run clinics nationwide. It is also currently working with the Lakeshore Foundation and Wounded Warriors as well as working with a UAB study to measure the neurological effects of skateboarding on autistic children.
Members of the neighborhood association and city officials have, as previously reported, had several meetings with Worley to discuss possible sites within the park. The current proposed plan would have the skatepark taking up about one third of the terrace land located between the dog park and the tennis courts. It would take up anywhere from 10,000 to 25,000 square feet of space and would cost roughly $450,000 to construct.
Worley explained that the CEO of VANS, Inc., recently visited Birmingham and the company is interested in providing funds for the park (something they have done elsewhere). He also suggested the company is interested in considering the city as a future stop on the popular VANS Warped Tour.
Overall, attendees expressed their support for Worley, A-Skate, and for a skatepark at George Ward both throughout the meeting and afterwards. They did, however, want to ensure that plenty of green space remains in the park.
The biggest concern of the audience at the meeting was that the terrace section is one of the few sections remaining at George Ward that is not dedicated to a specific use. One questioner wondered why Bessie Estell Park, located just west of Epic Elementary School, was not considered. Reasons cited included a lack of parking and noise concerns from the nearby St. Elias Maronite Church.
Those residents present requested Worley return to a future meeting with designs that show what the skatepark’s footprint would look like in relation to the current park layout. They would also like to hear testimonials of other cities who have skateparks in their municipal parks.
Photo: Zero/DGK Tour. Faith Skate Supply/Flickr.