NEWPORT — The City of Newport, Dreamland Skateparks and Rogue Ales (among many groups and individuals) reopened the Newport Skatepark to an energized crowd of ‘boarders, fans and a few eager dogs on Saturday, Nov. 23.
The skatepark underwent a remodel while remaining open over the last two-and-a-half years, with a cost of more than $75,000.
Newport Mayor Dean Sawyer, Danyel Scott from Dreamland Skateparks and Noah Smith from Rogue Ales and Spirits, all contributed to an opening ceremony, including a ribbon-cutting, to open the park.
It was a dream come true for some.
Smith went to Rogue with an idea, and five years later, with the help of professional skater Kevin Kowalski the vision was realized.
Kowalski, a Newport native, was integral throughout the entire process.
“It just blows my mind how much power can come from everyone coming together. Great things can happen, as you see today,” Smith said. “To work for Rogue and for them to support this idea that I came to them with, was just special. There were so many people involved in getting this done.”
The first phase of the project got underway in November 2018, which included correcting drainage issues in the bowl, resurfacing the skatepark and clearing overgrowth from the surrounding areas of the park.
All the work was done by Dreamland, Rogue and many volunteers, including board shops Tactics and Shrunken Head Skateboards and the Newport Public Works Department. Even before any construction was done, many volunteers were on the ground raising money and awareness.
“As you can tell here today, there is strong community support and with all of their help, we were able to accomplish this,” Scott said while also helping with the prize raffle which included shirts and other prizes for the attendees.
Phase two of the project completed a 2,000-square-foot section that was unfinished since the park was originally built. Existing pavers were removed, concrete was poured and new street and flow features were added to the area.
Both the overall aesthetic and functionality of the park increased.
Phase two cost nearly $45,000, which was funded by the City of Newport from residual funds from phase one, funds contributed by individuals for the skatepark’s improvement and proceeds from a promotional event hosted by Rogue Ales and Spirits.
The brewing company then donated an additional $30,000 to close the financial gap and complete the project alongside Dreamland Skateparks.
Both the physical effort and financial muscle required to pull this off not only has impacts today, but also for the future and the Oregon coast’s new ‘boarders.
There are features unlike any other.
“We’ve got some new innovative features that didn’t exist when this was built and still doesn’t exist anywhere in the world,” said Scott. “In 1999 when this was built, it didn’t have some of these elements and types of transitions and specialty features, and I think it will bring up the bar here at Newport Skatepark.”
The step-up clamshell was added onto the corner of the skatepark, an ocean-wave doorway was crafted for ‘boarders to enter the skatepark, there is a keg casted in concrete to symbolize the partnership with Rogue Ales and Spirits, stamps of crabs and local chinook salmon and even a vert-extension wall were added.
Additional rails and other smaller upgrades were added to the skatepark, as well.
It all began with the initiative of a few, and now the park is open and ready for local kids and adults alike to show off their skills.
And one in attendance, 10-year-old Jameson Town, was showing off in the official reopening demo. Town was one of the few to take part and one of the few to attempt some audacious tricks.
Town performed an “invert” — he skated up the vert and as he reached the top, he grabbed the edge of the ramp with one hand and held his feet on the skateboard with his other hand (all while a dog looked to play as he was in mid-air).
“I’m just blown away,” David Town, Jameson’s father said on the reopening of the skatepark. “It was built for the community and the community came together to get this done. I’m just impressed with the effort and time that went into it, and you can see a lot of professional skaters would come here and lend a hand. We are lucky to have this here in the community.”
One of those professionals — Newport native and Rogue Ales and Spirits ambassador Kowalski — was unable to attend as he had suffered an injury during the Olympic Trials in Sao Paulo, Brazil. However, he left a note for all the volunteers, workers and ‘boarders who came out to the event Saturday at noon. In the note, Kowalski thanked all those who had a hand in the construction. He also expressed his enthusiasm for a future go on the new-look Newport Skatepark.