Casper mom hopes to create indoor skate park
CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - A Casper mom of four and skateboarding enthusiast, Copper Mack, has started organizing to create a local, indoor skate park. According to her, Casper has an active skate community, but no desirable space.
“We had two skate parks, now we have one, and then you know it’s just getting dilapidated and no one’s taking care of it. Well, the kids are taking care of it, the kids are bringing Bondo and stuff to make repairs themselves to make things skateable,” said Mack.
Mack plans to model the skate park after a similar space in Nebraska called The Bay. The park will be open to anyone and will emphasize inclusivity. Mack hopes that instead of skaters leaving the state to skate in Colorado, they will travel to Casper instead.
“Not only will it help our kids in our community, it’s gonna bolster the tourism. We know everybody is leaving Wyoming to go to other skate parks and we can bring all that back and attract more,” said Mack.
One advantage Mack believes she has is that as a mother, she can connect with others who want to keep their kids active while staying safe. She says the majority of the followers on her Facebook page, 307 Skate Park, are adult women. She says people across Wyoming, including Cheyenne and Laramie, have shown an interest in the project.
“I want my kids to be able to do stuff in Casper without worrying about them getting in trouble or staying warm, and with the stuff that happened this summer with the teenagers at David Street Station, it’s obvious we need an answer, and I’m looking to fill that need,” said Mack.
Mack plans to undertake the project as a nonprofit. She has already planned some fundraisers and will be applying to grants to fund construction costs. Mack has also been in contact with other local organizations to combine efforts for the skate park.
“We’re definitely really reaching out to anybody in this community who is interested in this project and interested in helping our kids,” said Mack.
According to Mack, the park has four main goals, skating areas, youth support, a food pantry, and community engagement. Those goals can be split into two divisions, the skate park itself and a youth center.
The skating areas will be designed with flow, so that skaters can easily navigate around and between spaces. There will be an indoor skate park and outdoor street skating courtyard, as well as a skate shop and concessions. Skate park etiquette will be taught to help prevent accidents or arguments.
“You know, rules like hey don’t walk in the middle of the ramp, or don’t just drop in when somebody is already in. So we will make sure the education is there for somebody who is just starting getting into it,” said Mack.
When it comes to her goal of youth support, Mack hopes to create a youth center at the skating area. The building will be designed to help battle youth poverty through an on-site food pantry, free laundry services, and showers that will be available at all hours.
Young adults will be able to work at the youth center and gain experience and training. The center will also offer training and workshops to teach youth about different career fields and give them resources for future jobs.
Adult staff members will be trained in crisis response to provide resources to children who may need help. The skate park will also require some proof of membership for access so that parents feel secure in their children’s safety. The park will also have seating space for parents to comfortably watch their kids, or for skaters to take a break and hang out.
“This is going to be a safe place for them to take their kids. Nobody is going to enter without them knowing, and there’s going to be a nice spot for you to sit and spectate,” said Mack.
Listening to the feedback she has already received, Mack hopes to find a space close to downtown Casper, but has plans for if the park is less accessible.
“If for some reason we had to go somewhere less locally situated, we would look into getting a shuttle service for the youth that don’t have transportation,” said Mack.
Mack believes the skate park will not only support youth in Casper but has the potential to boost the economy in the city as well.
“Skateboarding is not going to go away. It is projected to be a 2.4 billion dollar industry by 2025, it is doing nothing but growing, and it would be sensible for us to fill that need. Pro skaters don’t train at Olympic training facilities, they go around and skate regular parks... this is an opportunity that is right there for the taking,” said Mack.
The skate park will be designed to withstand the impact of many different types of wheels so that skateboarders, roller skaters, bikers, and others can all take advantage of the space.
“We plan on making this skate park strong enough structurally to be able to handle the impact of several ‘unmotorized vehicles’ if you will,” said Mack.
Mack plans to have the park open 24 hours a day, so adults can come and skate at night without children. She also hopes to work with the school district to create programs and events for children of all skills and abilities.
“I’m so excited to be able to help and lead this project. I know it’s going to bring so much to Casper and meet so many needs,” said Mack.
Mack will be hosting a public forum on Feb. 6 at the Natrona County Library from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m. to hear feedback and ideas from the community.
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