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Winston-Salem to begin construction of permanent skate park this summer

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Winston-Salem city officials say the turnout at last summer's temporary skate park -- at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds -- was so good; they're building a permanent one.

Construction on the new park, which will be built beside the fairground's annex building, is set to begin this summer. It will be somewhere between 12,000 to 15,000 square feet.

For local skaters, it's a welcomed idea, especially when it comes to the next generation.

"Their parents aren't just going be like, 'Oh we'll drop you off downtown for the day to go skate,'" said Colin Snoke of Exodus Skate Shop in Winston-Salem. "They need a safer place to skate."

Snoke began skateboarding at age 12 and when he got his first board, and every other sport fell by the wayside.

"Skateboarding's like endless, you can do it anywhere," Snoke said. "There's an infinite amount of tricks you can do."

However, in recent years business owners and law enforcement officers have cracked down on skateboarders riding on private and city property.

"We also need somewhere where businesses aren't going to be mad at us, somewhere where property won't be hurt," Snoke said.

"I feel like it would benefit everybody, you know parents, kids," said Winston-Salem's Joey Hensley, who skateboarded as a child and whose son was taking one of his first rides today. "If we have something that would bring in a crowd like that, it's going to?benefit everybody; local businesses, restaurants, if people come stay overnight that's hotel stays."

That's an idea that was backed up by Snoke, who said that he often travels out of state to find new spots, and regularly begins at local skate parks.

"If it's built correctly it will draw people in from all over the Triad and probably even further away," Snoke said. "Really something concrete is what you want. It's maintenance free and it'll last forever."

Some of the features which will be in the park are already owned by the city and were used in the city's temporary park last year. The plans have been finalized but are yet to be approved by the city council. Officials say the city has put aside about $450 thousand for the project. There is no set completion date, but they expect it to be done by year's end.

"Everybody can get off work and just go skate somewhere instead of like,? waiting until businesses close or waiting 'til the weekend to go skate," Snoke said. "You can skate all day, every day and not have to worry about it."