Hundreds of skaters lined up to drop in on the newly opened Ocala Skatepark on Saturday morning.
After a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Ocala Mayor Kent Guinn, skaters flooded into the new facility and wasted no time exploring the grounds.
The park, which is the first official skate park endorsed by the city of Ocala within city limits, has been in the works for years and looks to satisfy a growing population of skateboarders, rollerbladers, and BMX bicyclists that has seen a boom in the last two decades.
According to city staff, there are approximately 4,000 skateboarders in Ocala and 22,000 in Marion County.
During Saturday’s ribbon cutting, skaters lined the sides of the park to each get the opportunity to test out the newly crafted rails that fill the interior.
Ocala Recreation and Parks staff dished out free drinks and even sold some new Ocala Skatepark merchandise to interested skaters.
The project, which broke ground this past December, dates back to a public survey and community meeting in 2012 to evaluate citizen interest and support for a public skatepark.
Although it took years to materialize, the park was constructed in only five months by Team Pain, an organization that is known for building quality skate parks all around the country.
According to the city, the $410,000 street course is the first phase of a larger plan which includes a snake run, larger bowl, lighting, pavilion and other necessary amenities to fill out the park.
Recreation and Parks Director Kathy Crile is hopeful that the community will continue their fundraising efforts to help complete all the phases of the park in the coming months and years.
The skatepark will be open sunrise to sunset, permitted the gates of the park are open and the equipment and riding surfaces are dry. To read the complete set of rules and regulations for the skatepark, please click here.