Hot Spot Skate Park
339 Union Street Spartanburg, SC 29306
SPARTANBURG, SC – The Hot Spot Skate Park located at 339 Union Street (behind the YMCA)officially opened on June 3rd 2009. Phase I of this 21,000 square foot concrete park will be supervised and run by the city’s Parks & Recreation department. Newly constructed park has a plaza section with “street elements” off of the old elevated loading dock which include steps, rails, ramps, ledges, wall rides, a grass gap, and a 2-block section. The plaza section leads into a flow course which has a pyramid with elements such as hips, rails, manual pads, quarter pipes. The lower section of the park is a half pipe with escalators, a spine, camel hump, and an 8-foot vertical ramp off to the side leading back into the pyramid section. Micah Stancil, former pro skater and owner of Origin skateboard company in Spartanburg, describes the park as having most of the major elements skaters need to progress as well as offering some unique structures for more creative skating. The park will eventually have landscaping, a concession building and bathrooms on site and will be connected to the 2-mile rail trail. These enhancements may be a few months behind the initial opening.
Interest in the park began in 2001 when Harriette and Marty Reid began looking into the possibility of building a public skate park. Various sites were considered, including Howard Street, TK Gregg recreational center, downtown, and areas adjacent to Barnet Park. Since that time, a non-profit organization, the Coalition for Active Youth (CAY), was formed to help raise money for the park. Early park plans called for asphalt surfaces and modular ramps. Vivian Jordan with CAY states, “The idea of the park has evolved from a very basic skate park into a quality, concrete park which will be virtually maintenance free and draw skaters and their families into Spartanburg from surrounding areas.” Currently, there are several private parks in Greenville and in other cities but the Hot Spot Skate Park will be the first public, concrete park in the state. Public skate parks open the sport up to kids in the area who don’t have access to transportation to other cities or money to pay the higher entrance fees at private parks. In addition to a small fee for daily admission, annual and family memberships will also be available for purchase.
As for the park design, local skaters were consulted every step of the way for their input. Skaters met and tweaked designs over and over again until they were satisfied with the final design. The decision to go with a concrete park was unanimous with the skaters even if it meant having to wait longer or purchasing less equipment for the park. Fortunately, the commitment from Hot Spot, a local Spartanburg company, allowed the city to move ahead with plans as scheduled and purchase enough equipment to complete the park and establish the flow necessary for a successful skate park.
Members of the Coalition have been meeting regularly with City of Spartanburg representatives Mitch Kennedy (Community Relations) and David Cook (Project Construction Manager) for the past two years. CAY and the City credit a broad-based group of various individuals, foundations and businesses as the key for the successful effort. The site on Union Street belongs to Johnson Development and is being leased for a small fee. Interestingly, the site has been skated by locals for years was a natural fit for the park. Lamar Baehr, local developer and Coalition Member, says that, “The skate site is a perfect fit for a property that has been unused for years. It anchors the head of the 2-mile Rail Trail and will be a great beginning for rejuvenating Union Street.”
In addition to grants and donations, people from the community have offered to help in various ways. During building, Triangle Construction donated the use of a crane to offload and place the prefabricated concrete structures. The largest piece weighed over 15,000 pounds! Hot Spot broke up and removed the 14-inch thick concrete to make room for landscaping alongside the park and at the entrance. Wal-Mart and Duron Paint donated paint and labor to prep the graffiti wall and Buddy McMahon donated his artistic talent to replace the graffiti and add the Graffiti Foundation logo. Local landscapers, Rusty Moore and Charles Reid, have been helping with the plans and have provided some creative ideas including using recycled curbing for the sign. Hub-Bub’s, “Hit the Deck”, art show in the Gallery features over a dozen skate boards painted by local artists who have donated their artwork to the cause. Boards will be displayed until June 10th.
In 2007 and 2008 Spartanburg was awarded the “Playful City” designation for its work on bringing parks to the area. Brian Wofford, Parks and Recreation Supervisor, believes that the new skate park will provide “another avenue for kids to stay active, make friends, and have fun in their community”. This is vitally important as Spartanburg Community Indicators Project reports that 52% of children and teens in Spartanburg do not exercise regularly which is in line with the US average.
The park has plenty of room for expansion and plans for Phase II have been discussed. In addition to paying for equipment, the skate park is in need of additional funds for a shade structure and landscaping. If you are interested in making a tax deductible donation, make checks payable to “Coalition for Active Youth”. All donations will be recognized and major contributions will be permanently recognized on site.