As the skateboard set would say, “Gnarly, man.”
There will be more grinding, face-planting and hard-flipping this season at the Clifton Park Action Park, and if you’re not familiar with these terms you should plan on being a spectator, not a skateboarder, when the park opens April 1.
Located on property next to Clifton Park Center mall, the park is a 100-by-100-foot paved area with about 20 pieces of concrete and modular equipment for skateboarders and inline skaters with the need for speed. Built for $388,400, the park was the result of intense lobbying from teens desiring a safe spot for their sport. The town this month responded to requests to modify the park, allocating $6,000 to give the teens ways to catch some more air.
“We take our direction from the kids; they know what they want better than we do,” said Myla Kramer, director of the town Office of Parks, Recreation and Community Affairs.
Kramer said the plan for this spring was to add a “half pipe,” which is a concave ramp with a flat bottom that bows up on each side. But kids that frequent the park asked, instead, that the town switch around two ramps, and extend a deck. Once done, the boarders will be able to keep their momentum going and land those kick flips and hurricanes.
Officially opened for business on July 29, 2006, in its first full year of operation the park has attracted 200 full-fledged members and about 1,000 day-pass users. Membership is $60 per season for Clifton Park residents, $180 for out-of-town users, $6 for a day pass for town residents and $12 for outside users.
The park is also a good source of summer employment for teenagers, giving 150 kids a job during the busy months before the park closes on Oct. 31.
Nick Grennon, a junior at Shenendehowa Central High School, was involved in the planning of the park and hopes to work there as a monitor this summer.
“It’s a really popular place. The only other real option is ‘The Shelter’ but that’s all the way down in Albany,” said Grennon. “Having the ramps moved around will be great.”
Grennon said between “newbs” (first-timers), “ams” (amateurs) and pros sharing the Action Park, there’s a code that keeps everyone safe.
“We all help each other out and respect each other,” said Grennon. “There’s equipment for younger kids and then more challenging stuff. We’re all really careful.”
As Grennon and his friends grew up skateboarding around town, the rules of the road have changed dramatically.
“When I was young, I used to be able to skateboard all over town. But there’s too much traffic now,” said Grennon. “Even in bad weather we use the park. There are lots of kids with just nowhere to go after school and weekends; no one wants to go to the mall and walk around inside anymore.”