CHARLOTTE — A beloved Charlotte skate park will close for good in a few weeks. The city of Charlotte has notified Charlotte city council members the Eastland DIY SkatePark will close on March 3 to prepare the land for redevelopment. The skate park, located in east Charlotte, has been considered an oasis and sanctuary where skateboarders of all ages and skill levels routinely come out.
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“Yeah, there’s definitely some blood, sweat and tears here,” Stephen Barrett said. “It is very much like a family.”
If anyone knows, it would be Barrett. He and six other friends built the skate park in 2015.
Since then, there have been so many memories made and tricks landed, they are impossible to count. Even though he has known this day is coming, it doesn’t make the news easier to handle.
“I just don’t see why something that is so good and such a good community for people who come out of here, is not accepted into the plans of what they are doing,” he said.
The skate park is another casualty of development in a city full of it. Skateboards have been replaced by the wheels and tracks of bulldozers to make way for a massive new development.
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“This is really all skaters have in Charlotte,” Ali Mugala said. “Charlotte doesn’t really like to build us anything and whenever we get something, it gets taken down pretty fast.”
There aren’t many other skate parks. Skaters prefer Eastland due to its size and location. The skate park at Naomi Drenan requires full pads and helmets.
“I’m going to miss coming with my friends and skating in good weather,” Noah Totty said. “It is so sad to see everything go.”
The tricks will continue at Eastland for a few more weeks but Barrett doesn’t know what’s next.
“I’d like to say there is something we can do to save it to stop it from happening but if the city sold the property to somebody, it is their property now,” he said.
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This land may soon look different, but skaters say it won’t come close to replacing what’s already here.
“If they want to talk about culture, this is culture,” Barrett said. “This is a very big mix of cultures all coming together to support one thing, which is skateboarding.”
An incredibly sad time for Charlotte as the Eastland DIY skatepark is in its final days. The city says it will close on March 3rd due to the Eastland project construction @wsoctv pic.twitter.com/JswmS3YM30— Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) February 15, 2022
Mecklenburg County oversees parks and recreation.
A county spokesperson says the county is aware there is a need for more skate park amenities systemwide. Mecklenburg County is working on its next capital improvement plan for FY24-28 and a spokesperson says the county will look at adding this amenity to other parks where feasible. There is a renovation project for Naomi Drenan Rec Center that may include renovations to the Grayson SkatePark depending on the budget. A skate park component has also been included in the master plan for Bryant Park and Clarks Creek Park.
A limited amount of park space has been set aside for the new Eastland development, but its uses have not been finalized.
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