For the last two months youth and skaters in Merced have been enjoying the new state-of-the-art Merced Building Healthy Communities All-Wheels Skate Park at McNamara park which was completed and ready for them during the summer.
“Green space and parks improve health in many ways,” said Sol Rivas, Merced Building Healthy Communities hub manager earlier this year. “We are proud to do our part in investing in youth and improving neighborhoods that need them the most. This is a big win for the community.”
After months of planning and extensive input from families and youth, BHC Merced announced back in January the development of the new all-wheels skate park coming to south Merced with the groundbreaking of the park taking place in May followed by about three months of construction. McNamara Park, is located at 1040 Canal St, in Merced.
In partnership with California Skateparks, Merced Parks & Community Services, and the City of Merced, the project aims to create a healthier community and provide fun, recreational opportunities for youth and community residents.
Last year, Building Healthy Communities approached The California Endowment to explore ways of providing healthy, physical activity options for Merced’s residents and then partnered with California Skateparks in consultation with the City of Merced and its Parks & Community Services Department to make the park a reality.
In Merced, hundreds of residents attended a community celebration event and ribbon cutting ceremony for the new skate park in August featuring skateboard & BMX demonstrations from local teams, live music, live art, free food, vendor booths, fun family activities, and free raffle giveaway of skateboards, bikes, scooters, and helmets sponsored by local businesses.
“We held several meetings and design workshops with youth and residents because this park needed to be built with their input in mind, first and foremost,” Rivas said of making sure the community--particularly youth--was involved every step of the way on this project. “In fact, all projects across the city need extensive community involvement. Their voice is important.”
“We know from experience that skateparks become home away from home for many youth,” said Zach Wormhoudt, Principal Landscape Architect of California Skateparks.
California Skateparks has built over 350 skate parks throughout North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia for over 18 years; With the most recent project, the Fresno BHC Romain Skate Park in southeast central Fresno, which was unveiled in 2016, providing a safe place for children to play but also improving parks in underserved neighborhoods..
“We are confident that this project will be a flourishing success long into the future,” said Wormhoudt.
The All-Wheels Skate Park is 7,000 square feet in size and accommodate skateboards, inline skates, scooters, and bikes. It reflects state of the art design elements and is located adjacent to the Youth Center at McNamara Park. The finished skatepark is built of concrete and should require zero structural maintenance. The project includes electrical conduit to facilitate the option for future lighting and night use.
The all wheels skate park at McNamara Park was being donated to the City of Merced for community use. Funding for the project came from the California Endowment with leveraged funds from the Disney Foundation. Long-term maintenance of the facility will be provided by the Merced Parks & Community Services department.
The Merced City Council approved the project and its design on December 2017.