By Michael Harrell: PNT Staff Writer
Skateboarders, roller bladers and bikers alike were radiant with victory Saturday evening as the new skatepark in Portales held its grand opening.
“It’s been a long hard fight,” said Lorenzo Baca, the vice president of the Portales Skate Park Organization. The organization, which was started by youths using the park’s former location in Rotary Park. The group began fund-raising for a new skate park more than a year and a half ago until the city decided to help build them a new one, according to Baca.
Saturday’s ribbon-cutting of the park event was full of free food, live music from local bands and a tournament for the bikers, bladers and skateboarders of the area. Event organizers said the event was held to get more people to recognize and appreciate the new park.
The Portales Skate Park Organization consists of a board of adults and board of youths who use the park. They have been struggling with the city to get a new skatepark for more than a year.
“They (the city) gave us the spot and paid for the concrete,” he said.
The city gave $40,000 for the park, according to Ron Jackson, the city councilman.
Besides that it was up to volunteers to design it, build it and supply the rest of the cost — $15,000, according to Mary Carvey, the president of the skate park organization. Individuals and businesses, as well as the youths who use the park, helped with labor and supplies.
“This is for them. This is what they said they wanted,” Carvey said.
The work of the organization is still not yet complete, according to Carvey. There are plans to add more shaded areas, landscaping and benches, and perhaps even hold events for pro groups to come out to, said Baca.
Martin Terrazas of Portales, a long-time skater, said he likes the new park but it was sad to see the old one torn down. He said it was where he and many other kids grew up.
Fellow skater Dane Wilkerson concurred.
“I miss the essence of the old skate park,” Wilkerson said. “But this one has more of what we need.”