The City has been discussing the need for a skate park for well over a decade. In early 2012, staff conducted both a public survey and a community meeting to evaluate citizen interest and support for a public skate park. Those who participated overwhelmingly supported a public skate park.
A level-of-service evaluation, completed in 2014, indicated the City of Ocala needs one to three skate parks (depending on which standards are applied) just to meet city resident needs - not even factoring in non-city residents who will likely use the park.
Skateboarding is the second fastest growing sport, second only to snowboarding. It is more popular (among youth ages six to seventeen) than baseball. It is estimated there are 4,000 skateboarders in the city of Ocala and 22,000 in Marion County; generally 6.8% of the population using national averages. These statistics demonstrate a cultural shift in recreational pursuits.
Finally, after years of discussion, planning and budgeting, The City of Ocala will construct Ocala's first skate park in Tuscawilla Park. Tuscawilla is ideally situated in downtown Ocala with easy access via automobile, foot, bicycle or public transportation.
On Wednesday, December 12, 2018, a large crowd of elected officials, CEP members, city employees, media, excited skaters and BMX bikers gathered to witness a moment they had all been waiting on – for years!
The weather could not have been more perfect for the Ocala Skate Park groundbreaking, where Councilman Matthew Wardell, Mayor Kent Guinn and the CEP’s Director of Business Retention Joe Reichel all took to the podium with enthusiasm and support of the new 10,000-square foot street course.
For over 30 years, Team Pain has been building skate parks all over the world and, beginning January of 2019, the award-winning company will add Ocala, Florida to their list. According to Mayor Guinn, the project will take roughly “four months to complete” – a quick turnaround, considering the scope of work.
The $410,000 street course is just the first phase of the larger plan which includes a snake run, larger bowl, lighting, pavilion and other necessary amenities. Recreation and Parks Director Kathy Crile expects the community will continue their fundraising efforts to make completing all phases possible and timely.
Individual and corporate level donations are critical in continuing these efforts and can be made through Flipcause at https://www.flipcause.com/secure/donate/Mzk4NTc=. This link can also be found on the Ocala Skatepark Facebook page, which the City encourages you to follow for future announcements and updates.