East Charlotte skaters call for new location for DIY Skate Park
Eastland DIY will close to make space to begin redevelopment of the Eastland Mall site, including the Charlotte FC headquarters.
CHARLOTTE, NC – At the end of the week, the City of Charlotte will demolish a community-built skate park in East Charlotte.
Eastland DIY SkatePark will close to make room to begin redevelopment of the Eastland Mall site, including the new Charlotte F.C. Headquarter.
Things look bleak for a possible relocation of the park. Founder Steve Barrett pleaded with city leaders at a Monday night council meeting to find another location.
“We were ignored on social media by all panels,” Barrett said. “Hundreds of messages to Char-Meck, Charlotte Government by us and not a single response we hear from you.”
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Josh Sigmon first picked up a skateboard at just 6 years old while playing with a childhood friend.
“I had a trampoline. He had a skateboard. And he was like, ‘Basically, can I jump on your trampoline?’ I was like, ‘yeah if I could use anything,'” Sigmon said.
20 years later, he still skates several days a week.
It drives about 2 hours round trip to Eastland DIY Skate Park in East Charlotte.
Just like Giavante Alexander-Bolar.
“I’m really not from around here. But for the people I know, and the people who introduced me to the park there, they’re broke, and I really don’t want to lose the connection,” Alexander- said said Bolar.
On March 3, the city will close the skate park to prepare it for demolition, making way for the multi-million dollar renovation.
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The skaters have vowed to continue showing up at city council meetings until city leaders respond to their request for an alternate location.
“I know what it’s like, it’s like kids on a playground,” Sigmon said. “You know, what do they get out of it? Well, they take out, you know, kids off the streets, like people picking up a skateboard,” he said. “I know, I know, I have friends who were homeless before they started skating, they started skating here, it changed their lives.”
Sigmon will also miss the skate park for a more personal reason: this childhood friend introduced him to skateboarding.
“Unfortunately he passed away in 2010,” Sigmon said. “But, you know, he’s here with us. And, you know, he’s here at this place every day.”
When the park closes, Sigmon hopes that wherever they go, his friend’s spirit will follow.
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