CHARLOTTE — A beloved skate park in Charlotte will close for good in a few weeks. The City of Charlotte has informed Charlotte City Council members that the Eastland DIY SkatePark will be closing on March 3 to prepare the ground for redevelopment. The skate park, located east of Charlotte, has been considered an oasis and sanctuary where skaters of all ages and skill levels hang out regularly.
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“Yeah, there’s definitely blood and sweat and tears here,” Stephen Barrett said. “It’s kind of like a family.”
If anyone knows, it would be Barrett. He and six other friends built the skatepark in 2015.
Since then, there have been so many memories created and successful tricks that it is impossible to count them. Even though he knows that day is coming, that doesn’t make the news any easier to handle.
“I just don’t see why something that’s so good and such a great community for people coming out of here, isn’t accepted into the plans for what they’re doing,” he said. .
The skate park is another victim of development in a city full of them. Skateboards were replaced by the wheels and tracks of bulldozers to make way for massive new development.
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“That’s really all the skaters have in Charlotte,” Ali Mugala said. “Charlotte doesn’t really like building us anything and every time we get something it gets taken down pretty quickly.”
There are not many other skateparks. Skaters prefer Eastland due to its size and location. Naomi Drenan’s skate park requires full body protection and helmets.
“I’m going to miss coming with my friends and skating in the nice weather,” said Noah Totty. “It’s so sad to see it all go away.”
The rides will continue at Eastland for a few more weeks, but Barrett doesn’t know what’s next.
“I would like to say that there is something we can do to save it and prevent it from happening, but if the city sold the property to someone, it is their property now,” a- he declared.
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This land may soon look different, but skaters say it won’t replace what’s already there.
“If they want to talk culture, it’s culture,” Barrett said. “It’s a really big mix of cultures coming together to support one thing, which is skateboarding.”
Mecklenburg County oversees parks and recreation.
A county spokesperson said the county is aware there is a need for more skatepark amenities throughout the system. Mecklenburg County is working on its next capital improvement plan for fiscal years 24-28 and a spokesperson said the county will consider adding this equipment to other parks where possible. There is a renovation project for the Naomi Drenan Rec Center which may include renovations to the Grayson SkatePark depending on the budget. A skate park component was also included in the master plan for Bryant Park and Clarks Creek Park.
A limited amount of park space has been set aside for the new Eastland development, but its uses have not been finalized.
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