In a few months, you’ll be able to go to John Hunt Park and grab some air with your crew on a half-pipe.
That’s right, thanks to a $1 million anonymous donation, the city of Huntsville moving ahead with plans for an innovative skatepark that will challenge skaters, from professional to novice.
The proposed $4 million facility will be Olympic quality and include restrooms, pavilions, sunshades, lighting, landscaping and expanded parking. It is slated to be built on a three-acre site between Kids Space and the championship soccer fields.
“Skateboarding continues to grow in popularity and is a sport the community has long wanted to see in John Hunt Park,” said Mayor Tommy Battle. “We’ve been holding a space in the park for skaters, and thanks to the generosity of a local donor we’re able to start moving forward on a project this year.”
Fueled by the anonymous donor’s gift, the city is working in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greater Huntsville. An account has been established to continue fundraising to support the total cost of the project.
The city of Huntsville and Community Foundation team is also reaching out to a charity established by skateboarding legend Tony Hawk to help with the design.
“The Community Foundation is proud to help our donors put their philanthropic dreams into action,” said Melissa Thompson, CEO and president of the Community Foundation. “We strive to help our donors be generous, however that looks for them.
“We are excited to help bring to life the John Hunt Skatepark, which will enhance the quality of life and bring new opportunities to a diverse group of people in our community.”
For the donor, having spent formative years enjoying the former Get-A-Way Skatepark on Leeman Ferry Road, the goal is for others to have the opportunity for physical fitness and to learn important life lessons.
“Skateboarding is not easy … you have to fall a lot,” said the donor. “I used the focus and dedication harnessed from my skateboarding experiences throughout my business life, understanding you have to be dedicated and work hard to succeed; and you have to learn to fall and get back up.”
The city and the Community Foundation will work with The Skatepark Project, Hawk’s national skatepark advocacy charity, to ensure the project is completed efficiently and up to contemporary standards. It will incorporate elements of the Get-A-Way Skatepark and offer areas for Olympic and street-style skateboarding.
“We are extremely happy to be adding another attraction to John Hunt Park,” said Steve Ivey, director of Huntsville Parks & Recreation. “We know the new skatepark will be a huge success and thank the Community Foundation for helping us make this become a reality.”
The process for the city to begin working with the Community Foundation will be sent to City Council for approval on Jan. 14.