A new skate park is going to be built in Merced, and officials working on the project hope it can serve as an outlet for local youth.
The skate park will be built at McNamara Park and is designed for skateboards, inline skates, scooters and bikes, according to a news release from Building Health Communities Merced, or BHC.
The California Endowment funded the project and partnered with California Skatepark, an organization that’s built more than 350 skate parks around the world, and with the City of Merced and BHC.
“We know from experience that skateparks become home away from home for many youth,” said Zach Wormhoudt, principal landscape architect of California Skateparks in a statement. “We also know that south Merced is lacking free, public recreational facilities that benefit youth and the community at large. For these reasons, we are confident that this project will be a flourishing success long into the future.”
Sixteen-year-old Richard Brawley skateboards in Merced most every day and said the city was in need of a new park.
“Every skatepark here is not that great and kinda are in bad areas,” he told the Sun-Star in a phone interview. This can help and give “more opportunity at that skate park so other kids can get into it without worrying about drugs and other stuff.”
Several workshops and design meetings were held for this project, and local skaters were invited to talk to architects and designers to give their input on designs, said Sol Rivas, manager at BHC.
"We are proud to do our part in investing in youth and improving neighborhoods that need them the most,” Rivas said. “This is a big win for the community."
Brawley, who has been skateboarding for 13 years, was one of the local skaters who helped with designs and said it will “definitely make for a better skate park.”
“It felt pretty good to know they actually wanted to know what skaters and bikers wanted at the skate park,” Brawley added.
The park will be 7,000 square feet, according to officials, and construction can begin as early as the spring. It will take about three months.
“It’s just cool for Merced to have something bigger and better than most cities,” Brawley said. “People can get out there more and have fun. It’s mainly about having fun.”
Monica Velez: 209-385-2486, @monicavelez21