Skateboard Slam: A dedicated group of Rochester thrill seekers l - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Skateboard Slam: A dedicated group of Rochester thrill seekers look to breathe life into their skate park

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Collin Gaul shows us a broken box to grind on. Collin Gaul shows us a broken box to grind on.
Skaters have been putting together whatever they can to get new jumps for the park. Skaters have been putting together whatever they can to get new jumps for the park.
One of the main jumps of Rochester's  Silver Lake Skate Park has broken corners. One of the main jumps of Rochester's Silver Lake Skate Park has broken corners.

ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Rochester's Skate Park has been around since the early 2000s, and some say it's beginning to get old and dangerous.  With their safety at stake, these skaters are trying to do something about it.  When your passion is extreme, broken pieces can lead to broken bones.

"You see there should be four bolts.  We got one bolt holding this whole piece of coping in," said Skater Colin Gaul as he examines a box skaters grind on.  If a skater was to hit this, it would stop him dead in his tracks," continued Gaul pointing out a gap in a ramp corner, He would go right over his board.  It's a safety hazard for little kids."

Gaul has seen it all.  He was there when the Rochester Skate Park was built.

"Eventually what we got the city to agree too was to add on a section of the park every six years.  They did the one section, and they haven't done anything since," claimed Gaul.

Now years later this is the reality.

"This is all just cobble-jobbed together," said BMX bike rider Kurt Hohberger who is also the owner of BMXUnion.com, "Whatever just to make it, you know, something to ride."

It leaves these young skaters only to dream.

"So at the skate park they could make like one big ramp down there, but not too big down there," said Gavin a young scooter rider learning to do tricks.

It turns out, funding needs can change over the years.

"We plan out a five year time frame, and we hope to get money the following years, but that doesn't always come to fruition, so the goal was originally to make expansions periodically in the process, but again funding has limited that opportunity," said Mike Nigbur Park & Forestry Division Head at Rochester Parks and Recreation.

These skaters and parents say they have the answer, a non-profit.

"We are just in the beginning stages.  What we would like to do is really help the city raise some money to not only do repairs, but also expand," said Lori Bratvold as she takes her son to learn how to skateboard.

Even though skateboarding may not be a mainstream sport, it has produced an icon in Rochester named Alec Majerus.

"Most of us that would be here every day have moved out to California," said Majerus who flew in from Germany to attend the Salute the 4th Skateboard and BMX competition for the 4th of July, "There is ten of us that moved from here to California."

"They compare themselves to what Alec does, and how Alec does it all the time," said Gaul of the sponsored professional skater.

Collin would know, he was there well before Majerus hit the X Games.

"Collin actually taught him how to drop in on a skateboard, so we both watched him grow up, and now he is traveling all over the world," said Hohberger.

For these dedicated young skaters, their hopes can only go as far as their equipment will take them.

"The quality of the place they have to practice makes it all that much easier," said Hohberger.

But, don't expect them to stop pushing because when you fall, you get right back up and try again.

The Rochester City Parks and Recreation Department begins its master planning process on Wednesday.  The Department will look at all of its assets, and determine which areas have gaps.  The Skate Park is one of those assets.  Nigbur says the planning process could last through May of 2016.

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