DUNKIRK, Md. – Skateboarding is a popular hobby for many people here in Southern Maryland. However, many of the parks in this region are not up to par.
Whether it be the concrete quality, obstacle quality, or just the general lack of skateboarding parks overall, it’s safe to say that skaters in the area are not particularly happy with what is currently being offered.
The SOMD Skateboard Association has been putting in work to change that.
The SOMD Skateboard Association is a volunteer organization comprised of many skaters from around the area. They have been working with St. Mary’s, Calvert, and Charles County to advocate for renovations to the local skateparks.
They have recently been working with local Parks and Rec departments around St. Mary’s County to host events, such as free beginner learn-to-skate lessons. They are also planning on doing the same in Calvert and Charles.
As part of these efforts, they have recently started a petition online to advocate for renovations specifically for Dunkirk Skatepark in Calvert County.
“This park, in particular, is notable as the condition of the park is dangerous,” says Ryan Gebhardt, a member of the SOMD Skateboard Association.
“With the asphalt cracking and splitting, Bondo attempts at the bottom of dangerous obstacles, and the prefabricated metal ramps which have lost much of their coating leaving them slippery and dangerous. It’s time for them to be renovated… Calvert County Parks and Rec told us they are taking swift action to repair it, but we remain skeptical that their repairs will be sufficient.”
Gebhardt says the condition of the park has been the reason behind multiple injuries while skating.
“We’ve had people slip and break their wrists from the cracks… we’ve even had someone tear their MCL from slipping on one of the ramps,” Gebhardt told TheBayNet.com.
Nicolet Skatepark in St. Mary’s County used to be known as one of the worst skateparks in the area. However, unlike Dunkirk, the park is fully concrete.
It doesn’t have any of the prefabricated metal ramps that have been worn down so much over time, which now makes Dunkirk the worst skatepark in the eyes of many community members.
“We don’t want them to just fix it up, we want them to make it a modernized and nice skatepark. Then it’ll match the rest of the park too because the rest of the park is beautiful, constantly being renovated, constantly being cleaned up, having nice big light fixtures… but then you notice up on the hill there’s this big slab of concrete with a big cage around it and some old metal ramps,” Gebhardt said.
Another reason this topic is so important to the local skateboarding community is that this is another thing kids and young adults have to do in this area that brings people together.
“Kids are going to be skateboarding whether or not you support it, and if you do not have a good local skatepark for them to go to they are going to find places behind local businesses, and places like out in front of the library in Prince Frederick,” Gebhardt said. “They installed all of those rails because kids were jumping down the stairs on skateboards… I believe this would be a huge positive, and the community in the comment sections also believe this would be a positive.”
As of this writing, 970 people have already signed the petition. The current goal is 1,000 signatures, but more are welcome.
If you would like to sign and share this petition, you can click here: renovate-dunkirk-skatepark
If you would like to learn more about the SOMD Skateboard Association and its events, click here: somd.skateboard.association
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