New addition at Macon skate park becomes popular attraction
The owner of a Macon shop that caters to the skateboarding community says the new skate park has brought in people from well beyond the midstate.
Now, the finishing touches are being made on the newest addition — a nearly 10,00 square foot bowl, which could attract more skateboarders and events to Central City Park.
The skateboarding community in Macon has been pushing for this type of skate park for about two decades, said Jonathan Kennedy, owner of Clockwork Skate Shop, which specializes in selling skateboards and sneakers.
Central City Park has been home to another skate park, an indoor one where skateboarders paid a fee to use, and when it rained it would cause the wood to get soggy, he said.
“Since now they have a modern park that’s concrete, everybody is super psyched for it,” Kennedy said. “Now that they’re done the other phase it makes people more excited.”
Kennedy added,“We’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about it and we talk to hundreds and hundreds of people constantly. (The city) basically built it how the local community wanted. That’s what matters.”
The construction of the bowl is part of the second phase of the outdoor skate park that also includes a street portion for skateboards to do tricks off of. In total, the county has spent $900,000 of special purpose sales tax revenue to build the 22,500-square-foot skate park.
Because of Macon’s new skate park, more competitions such as 2017’s Mactown Smackdown, which brought in skateboards from as far away as Pennsylvania, will be taking place in Central City Park, Kennedy said.
Reggie Walker, director of the Macon-Bibb County Recreation Department, said the number of skateboarders throughout a typical day usually comes in waves. There may be 15-25 at one time and after they leave another group arrives.
A recent survey of license plate tags show people from outside of Macon are also using the skate park.
“I saw some Fulton County tags, some Cobb County tags, I even saw a Mississippi state tag last weekend,” Walker said. “They’re actually coming from those areas to this skate park.
“It’s going to be a large attraction for Macon,” Walker said. “We’re looking to see a lot more people coming from the southeast to skate at this park.”
Many of the skateboarders Kennedy says he’s come in contact with describe Macon’s as one of the best in the state.
An online directory lists about 40 skate parks throughout Georgia, some of which were recently built.
In 2017, Peachtree City spent $115,000 on a skate park while the city of Forsyth spent $300,000 on a skate park and splash pad.
One of the largest skate parks in the state is in Kennesaw where $1.2 million in public and private money was used to build the park in 2011.
And while Macon-Bibb’s new skate park is owned by the county, liability is not a problem.
“Macon-Bibb does not carry liability,” Risk Manager Karen Pennycuff said. “The skate park was determined to be the same as any other park or playground that is owned by the government. Back in 2017, Risk Management and County Attorney Office worked with Recreation Department to develop rules and signage regarding the use of the facility.”