The nice April weather gave way to an early completion - and gatherings of extreme sports enthusiasts - at the new skate park at Tiverton's Bulgarmarsh Recreation Area. It officially opened last Saturday.
Residents from Bristol and Warren are invited to put their boards and skates to the asphalt and test out the new park, which features brand new ramps and ample space for skating.
Tiverton Recreation Commission Chairman Gary Rose said they had between 75 to 100 people using the park during its opening day on Saturday. They served complimentary hot dogs and water to everyone who came and said a church group bus loaded of skateboarders from New Bedford, MA also enjoyed the park.
"This was truly a success story," Rose said.
Skateboarders, stunt bike riders and inline skaters occupied the park throughout the warm days of April. They were there last Friday afternoon on the eve of the opening, jumping the vertical ramps, attempting grabs, grinding the rails and having fun with friends.
Kyle Yusen, of Portsmouth, said it's really nice to have a skate park this close to his home, and said the only other comparable skate park is a trek to Jamestown.
Maintenance Director Bob Martin and workers placed plantings donated by Leo's Greenhouse around the the skate park last Friday.
Tiverton Recreation Commission member Chris Roemlein said earlier this month that Bulgarmarsh Skate Park will be unique for Rhode Island, being one of the most technical. The park was designed by a southern Maine skate park design and construction company, Who Skates. Roemlein did thorough research, and traveled the country, to find the best skate park for Tiverton.
He said the project is 15 years coming, starting with resident Ethan Smith, who raised money for it back in high school, including around $26,000 from t-shirt sales. Smith took the idea to the town.
"It's a tough thing to sell to people," he said.
When Smith went to college, resident Diane Toste took over the fundraising effort, and located the space for the park. Roemlein said he took over the fundraising for Toste and toured skate parks all over the country. He said two local skaters advised him on the park's design.
Martin also helped secure a grant from the Department of Environmental Management to help finance the skate park.
A full list of the safety policy and regulations is posted at the park and will soon be posted here. Director Martin said lights have been installed and will be shut off every night at 11 p.m.