While appreciative parents and their youngsters watched from shaded bleachers, Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto and county parks director Jack Kardys cut the ribbon on Dec. 17 for the county’s fourth and newest “skate court” at Indian Hammocks Park in Kendall.
Then the helmet-clad small fry tried out the concrete-cast ramps and “grinding rails” built into the $585,000 facility for safer skateboarding.
“We’ve been hoping for this for years,” said Diane Nieves, Winston Park mother of two young skateboarders — Joseph, 15, and Nicolas, 13. “We credit Commissioner Souto for listening to us at monthly meeting with him,” she added.
“Too many of these kids went to places like Dadeland or used sidewalks to try out skateboards without any safety or supervision,” Sherry Maer recalled in addressing the dedication event crowd.
“As parents, we’ve all nursed the bruises and a few broken bones to prove the need for a regulated facility at a nearby park.”
Creating safety for skateboarding includes the contracted Sugars Drop Shop concession trailer, opened to provide rental boards, helmets and other gear to protect skateboarding youth, as well as beginning lessons.
The 120- by 120-foot court features a variety of built-in “jumping” tests for skaters of different skill levels, including a wall for recording peak leaps.
“You can see by the highest marks, they’ve gone up to something like 14 feet,” Commissioner Souto said, adding his grandchildren are skateboarders, too.
Built with development impact fees, the skate court at Indian Hammocks Park is the fourth to open in Miami-Dade County, preceded by facilities at South Dade, Westwind Lakes and Country Village parks with a fifth planned to open in the northwest area at North Trail Park in 2012.
Coincidentally, families in West Kendall at the established Westwind Lakes skateboard court were enjoying a Skateboard Rodeo, an annual three-day event with contests raising funds benefiting breast cancer awareness, Fight the Hunger Foundation and other non-profits.
The Indian Hammocks skate court is open each weekday at 1 p.m. for a $2 fee; Saturday, 10 a.m., and Sunday and holidays, 11 a.m., ($5 fee), closing at sundown.
For detailed information, call 350-596-9324 or visit online at www.miamidade.gov/parks.