LOCKPORT, N.Y. — Lockport's skate park is more than ten years old, and it's falling apart. Now there's a group of people coming together to raise money to repair it or build a new one.
“I've had some of my best memories here, and it's just kind of sad to see this skate park wilt away like a dead flower," says Ashton Wallak.
Wallak started riding BMX when he was 12.
"The city built it, and originally it was a nice skate park. I believe the half-pipe was crafted from other skate parks in the past," says Wallak.
But now the Rail Yard Skate Park's prime is in its past.
"You see people riding back there right now, and it's not doing too well, as you can see," says Wallak.
So Wallak contacted Lockport’s common council.
"That was the first time I had ever written to an official, and I mean it was kind of scary at first, but I wanted our voices to be heard," says Wallak.
And with friends Wallak formed a group to fix the skate park.
"This is like a tiny family that comes here week after week," says Desiree Michalak.
Michalak has been coming to Lockport’s skate park since before she could skate.
"Just keep this set up. Maybe add a bowl or something because my friends would love that, and then just change it so it's not wood. Like, the wood has served its time. It's done," says Michalak.
They know it will cost thousands of dollars. That's why they got in touch with the Tony Hawk Foundation, which has a new partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Junior Foundation called Built to Play. It offers public skate park grants of up to $250,000 in matching funds.
Before applying, the group will need written support from the city.
Wallak says a concrete park such as the new one in Amherst would be ideal, but he would also be OK with the wood being replaced.
"It would just be great for the younger generation to have something to ride on especially because this skate park is slowly rotting away, and it would just be real nice because then they wouldn't have to worry about a broken skate park all the time," he says.
The group has a Facebook page. They have a meeting in Lockport on Sunday afternoon, when they'll talk about their next steps as they get ready to launch their fundraising campaign.