To the average person, an empty pit doesn't mean much. It’s probably an eyesore, a space wasted, an ugly gray patch. But for the trained eye - for the creative, the inspired, the imaginative - an empty pit means the potential for something amazing.
An empty pit is where Explore Licking County Creative Director Garrett Martin and Evans Foundation Chairwomen Sarah Wallace decided to spend a day. But they weren’t talking ideas; they were talking what would one day stand where they stood. They were talking about who would one day stand - or skate - where they stood. For Garrett, no stranger to large skateparks, along with countless community members, this empty pit was about to get a little more gnarly.
“We had meetings with the city of Newark, Newark Police Department and Police Chief Barry Connell, the city engineer and just people from the community” Sarah said to Garrett. “We worked with the schools, we worked with the city, we worked with the gardeners and all of the different parties that are involved and available.”
The skatepark, which is designed by Spohn Ranch out of California with help by local Robert Construction Services, will feature everything athletes love, including the standards like stairs, ramps, and rails, and the no-so-standard, like a full pipe. Sarah and her team opened up a meeting to potential skatepark users, and it became clear that the passion of Licking County’s adult residents is mirrored in its youth. About 120 skateboarders and BMX and scooter riders turned up to make their voices heard. Then, at the start of 2018, Sarah held a second meeting; this time with a smaller group of about a dozen, to show off what Spohn Ranch had come up with based on the feedback. Needless to say, it went well.
Parents can be rest assured that the park is safe, too. The park features a shaded bleacher area for spectators and a live stream of the park can be viewed online, which serves many purposes. Visitors from all the state can decide; is the park too wet or crowded, or are the conditions just right to head into Licking County for the day.
Live Footage of the Skateparks construction courtesy of the TJ Evans Foundation