Friday, April 09, 1999

Skating park's concrete poured

Crews shooting for June finish

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MIDDLETOWN — Chris Walls and Brandon Lynch had fishing poles in their hands but skating on their minds as they watched the first concrete being poured Thursday for the new skate park in Smith Park.

        “I can't wait to use it. I hope it's finished soon,” said Chris, 14, a skateboarder who loves the style called “extreme skating,” which includes grinding along rails and edges, and sailing through deep bowls and jumping on ramps.

        The teens stared, transfixed, as Jeff Paulin and Henry Chmielewski, of Baker Concrete Construction Inc. of Monroe, worked on a newly poured 28-foot ramp, smoothing every ridge or groove out of the concrete.

        “This is going to be sweet,” Chris said.

        “Awesome,” piped in Brandon, 15, an in-line skater. “I wish it was ready to use. The only place we have to skate is parking lots, and we always get run off.”

        Many such complaints to city commissioners last year led to the skate park. It has been dubbed “Baker Bowl” for the company that stepped forward and offered to donate much of the labor and materials for the park. Suburban Rails of Athens donated the design.

        Recent contributors for the roughly half-acre park include the city of Middletown, CG&E, Mecco Inc., Neal Excavating Inc., SK Construction, Hogan Air, Moraine Concrete, Turnbull Concrete, Gem City Builders Steel, Goetle Construction and CHC Fabricating.

        As the bright sun beamed down Thursday,Mike Manz Jr., project engineer, spread the plans out on a piece of plywood, and pinpointed the areas for beginners, intermediate and advanced skaters. He explained how the entire park will be surrounded with grassy slopes for safety. A rail will encircle the park.

        The 6- and 7-foot-deep bowls will be the tricky part, said Pete Tipton, project superintendent. The bowls will be carved from the mounds of clay dirt piled there. Then a method called “shotcrete” — shooting a pasty-type concrete from an air gun — will be used to form the curved walls.

        The entire value of the project will be about $500,000. The city is spending about $45,000 plus labor of city crews. The rest is donated, said Preston Combs, public works director.


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