The nice early spring weather has had extreme sports enthusiasts dreaming of grinds and half-pipes, waiting patiently for a local Tiverton park to rival some of the best in the state.
They didn't have to wait long. The warm air led to an early completion of the new skate park at one Recreation Commission member Chris Roemlein said will be unique for Rhode Island, being one of the most technical.
The park, which officially opened last Saturday, was designed by a southern Maine skate park design and construction company, Who Skates. Roemlein did thorough research, and traveled the country, to find the best skate park for Tiverton.
The skateboarders, stunt bike riders and inline skaters who occupied the park throughout the warm days of April — as many as 75 to 100 a day, according to Recreation Commission Chairman Gary Rose — seem to agree. They were there last Friday afternoon on the eve of the opening, jumping the vertical ramps, attempting grabs, grinding the rails and having fun with friends.
Kyle Yusen of Portsmouth said it's really nice to have a skate park this close to his home, and said the only other comparable skate park requires a trek to Jamestown.
Roemlein said the project is 15 years coming, beginning with then-high schooler Ethan Smith, who raised about $26,000 from t-shirt sales, and took the ideaof the park to the town.
"It's a tough thing to sell to people," Roemlein said.
When Smith went to college, friend Diane Toste took over the fundraising effort, and located the space for the park. Roemlein said he took over the fundraising for Toste and toured skate parks all over the country, joined by two local skaters who advised him on the park's design.
Maintenance Director Bob Martin also assisted with the financing, securing a grant from the Department of Environmental Management and a scoring donated plants from to spruce up the park.
A full list of the safety policy and regulations is posted at the park and will soon be posted here. Martin said lights have been installed and will be shut off every night at 11 p.m.
Read our previous coverage of the skate park coming to Tiverton: