In September of 2019, my then eight year old son, Jacob, asked me if we could go somewhere else to skateboard rather than just skating in our driveway and road. Jacob had recently expressed interest in learning to skateboard, having seen me do it throughout his infancy. My wife and I bought him a pintail longboard from Amazon for his birthday that year, something entry-level he could learn on. I was super excited he had asked me about going somewhere else to skate, because I was trying to facilitate his learning curve by skating around our home.
I wanted to take him to a spot that had lots of room to skate and was a safe environment. So naturally, I thought about taking him to one of the local parks here in Rock Hill. I recalled Cherry Park had a large parking lot, and there was a spot in the back where no traffic existed. So one Saturday morning in September, Jacob and I loaded our boards into our car and left for Cherry Park. The back of the parking lot was a perfect spot for us to roll around and carve. We were racing each other and weaving back and forth, having a fantastic father and son moment. Unfortunately, the moment was cut short.
Within 10 minutes of us being on the property, a park ranger rolled up in his golf cart yelling at us to leave the park. He kept saying we weren't allowed to skateboard there. Initially, I thought he was just harassing us (like I had been harassed for years prior for skating in public places). But his tone told me otherwise. My son got scared and quickly made his way back to the car. I asked the park personnel to calm down and explain what the problem was. He educated me that it was against park rules to skateboard in Cherry Park! I was just stunned. So we packed up our boards and left the park.
On our way out of the park, I pulled over to read the park rules signage, and sure enough it listed that there was no skateboarding allowed in the park. I was really surprised to see this. If we can't skate here, at a public park, then where are we "allowed" to skate? As it turns out, there are no sanctioned areas in Rock Hill for skateboarders. In fact, skateboarding is not allowed at ANY of the parks in Rock Hill. That's when I decided that something needs to be done.
Brian White is a visionary filmmaker and business owner. When he's not serving his clients, he geeks out over video games, movies, and skateboarding. He has the upmost passion for establishing an inclusive, free, public skatepark for all youth and adults alike in York County.
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