First public skate park Comes to Gentilly

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — New Orleans has never had a public skate park until now.  Over the years, the city has seen some failed attempts but the opening of a new facility brings promise.  WGNO’s Deepak Saini takes you to Parisite Skate Park in Gentilly.

Under the I-610 overpass, you’ll find a skateboarder’s oasis.

“I grew up in Metairie and there’s never really been a public park or any private parks on the Eastbank,” says Andrew Bankson.

For the first time in history, New Orleans finally has a public skate park.

“If you had asked me 2 years ago if things would turn out like this, I thought it was pretty iffy. I’m still pinching myself. This is beyond our wildest dreams,” says Skylar Fein with Transitional Spaces.

Two years ago, a group of skaters formed their own non-profit called Transitional Spaces.  They wanted to work with the city on building a park that met legal guidelines.  No city funds were used to build the 18,000 square-foot park.  Instead, skaters raised thousands of dollars and Tulane’s School of Architecture helped with the design.  Some of the ramps came from Red Bull’s floating skating park that was temporarily set up along the riverfront in 2011.  Although this is a skater’s paradise, some of the neighbors beg to differ.

“It’s going to be a bad thing. This is not a good thing. This is a bad thing. I mean this is a terrible thing,” says Lee Cage.

But organizers say they’ll do their best to make sure the skaters in the park are respectful.

“If you want to see what it looks like when young people get together and do right without pay… They’re not getting any glory, no statues of themselves, their names are not on the wall or anything like that, come to Parisite and check this out,” says Fein.

On Saturday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu will attend a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the skate park.  Parisite is open from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Monday-Sunday and it’s free.  The skaters also set up a Kickstarter campaign to pay for the park’s expansion.

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