Skate park program blends sport with art and design
Mixing art and sport, children gathered to design, build and skate at the North Houston Skate Park.
The park partnered with the Harris County Public Library and skateboard shop Clouds and Tricks for the weeklong skateboard building workshop from July 17-21.
This was the first year for the free workshop, which was sponsored by the Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority.
“I’m hoping this program gives the children more enthusiasm about skateboarding. They created their own board with their own stamp on it that they will have forever,” said Sally Bradford, executive director of the Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority. “They will always have the board and remember they did it because of the North Houston Skate Park. Seeing the smiles on those kids faces makes it all worth it. It’s all about seeing the kids find the joy in their life at this park.”
North Houston Skate Park is more than 78,000 square feet of skatable surface which features a 20 foot diameter full pipe, a street skating area, a Texas shaped bowl, a snake run and five other bowls for vertical skating. Additionally, skate park is home to a piece of public art by Hall of Fame skateboarder Steve Olsen.
Michelle Mayes and husband John Mayes Jr. own Clouds and Tricks, a skateboard shop and park located near the park. Their business has been open for three years. Michelle and other Clouds and Tricks volunteers assisted the children in building and learning to ride their skateboard during the workshop.
“We want kids to be inspired to be skateboarders, but to see these relationships from kids from all different schools from all different areas see the positive side of skateboarding was great,” Michelle Mayes said. “We hope that they are inspired to continue skating. The library purchased books for them, and we got magazines for them so they can see skate culture besides what is just on television. We hope they are inspired to continue reading and getting better at their skills and begin active.”
Mayes and her husband are working on an after school program for skateboarding that offers kids lessons and tutoring. She was thankful that the skate park officials reached out to her and her husband to offer skateboard building and lessons to youth.
“What’s fun about being in this program at the park is that I have never skateboarded before, and I get to make one,” said Nicolas Obregon, 10. “Also, I get to try and learn how to skate. I can learn how to do skateboard tricks at the park, too.”
In 2009, the tax increment reinvestment zone in Greenspoint purchased approximately 10 acres of flat, treeless, undeveloped land to be used for the park. North Houston Skate Park was developed after Aldine High School students expressed what they wanted to see in their community.
North Houston Skate Park officially opened in Oct. 2014. The skateboard portion of the park cost approximately $3.5 million and the entire park, which includes Dylan Park, was approximately $8 million. The skate park and Dylan Park budget included land purchase, design, construction equipment and art.
North Houston Skate Park was funded with taxes from Aldine Independent School District, Harris County, the city of Houston, Spring ISD, and Lone Star College.
The Aldine Branch Library staff looks forward to continuing to bring inspiring, fun, and educational programs to the youth in the area. The Aldine Branch Library is a branch of Harris County Public Library.
“I hope that kids feel a little more empowered after this attending the skateboard workshop. A lot of these kids are building a skateboard for the first time,” said Jennifer A Haight, youth services librarian for Aldine Branch Library. “I think a lot of them are not given a lot of extra things in their life, so to be handed an almost $300 skateboard and helmet helps give them empowerment. Of course too, if they make new friends here and add physical activity to their life, that is great.”
Due to the success of the skateboard workshop event, there are plans to have another session in the near future.
“This program is fun because we get to do cool tricks on the skateboard we made,” said Joel Santos, 10. “This is a good idea because we get to learn how to make a skateboard and ride them.”
Construction for a BMX park south of the skate park location is currently under construction and is planned to open fall of 2018.
“The skate park was a good project for this area. Besides the kids in the (area) wanting the skate park, this was a sport that you didn’t need parents to take you to a little league, and you didn’t a whole bunch of money to pay fees to get into these sports,” Bradford said. “What you need here is a helmet and skateboard. It also draws people from all around the world. Last year we had 120,000 people use this park. People from 22 different countries visited this park last year because it is the largest skateboard park in North America. So, skaters get the word out.”
Want to know more?
North Houston Skate Park
12351 Kuykendahl Rd.
Houston, TX 77090
Greater Greenspoint Redevelopment Authority
16800 Greenspoint Park Drive
Clouds and Tricks Skateboard Shop
313 Rankin Rd Suite I
North Houston, Texas
Aldine Branch Library
11331 Airline Dr.