The Fairfax County Park Authority officially opened the expanded Wakefield Skate Park on Saturday. The skate park is located at 8100 Braddock Road in Annandale, next to the Audrey Moore RECenter in Wakefield park. It features a Freestyle course and a Competition course.
Marie Reinsdorf, Fairfax County Park Authority board secretary, said the idea for the skate park began in May 2000, when local teenagers expressed the need. "Four years later this park opened and today there is no looking back," Reinsdorf said. "Skate parks are here to stay."
Braddock District Supervisor John Cook said since the first skate park opened in 1976, there has been a cultural shift that now sees development of public areas designed to encourage skateboarding. "Our parks, like our libraries and our schools, are the places where you really see the full diversity of our population," said Cook. "Our teens and our youth sometimes have not been as well served in our recreational places as they need to be. Skateboarding is one place where we can serve that population."
"When we think about all American sports we think about baseball, or we think about basketball or we think about football," said Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. "Skateboarding would not be at the top of the list," she said. But a 2004 sports participation survey showed 11.6 million skateboarders in America. "This figure is enough to make skateboarding the third most popular sport for American teenagers," said Bulova.
After the speeches and ribbon cutting, members of the Fairfax Surf Shop Skate Team presented an opening day demonstration. Then the park was officially opened to everyone.
Jonas Durney, a member of the Fairfax Surf Shop Skate Team, took a turn at the Wakefield Skate Park. "I live about an hour away and have been here about ten times since it opened," said Durney. "Every time there is something new."
"Wakefield offers two different things," said skate boarder Sean Poling of Fairfax. "The old part is more of a park and the new is like the street."
Wakefield Skate Park is Fairfax County Park Authority' first skate park, opened in 2004. The $388,000 expansion was funded in the 2008 Park Bond. The skate park includes a viewing area with picnic tables and tents. Wakefield Skate Park also offers Skateboarding and BMX classes and camps for children of various ages and skill levels, as well as private Skateboarding and BMX lessons.
Lake Fairfax Skate Park, located in Reston, is scheduled for completion sometime this fall, according to the Park Authority website.