Since November, the Fishers AgriPark has been closed for the season but hasn’t been totally quiet. At the end of January, one Fishers Parks team member saw an opportunity to use the AgriPark’s event barn for the installation of a free, indoor, heated skatepark.
Adam Wagner, experience coordinator with Fishers Parks, is a skateboarder himself, and the idea really came about after the barn’s smooth, concrete floors were poured over the summer.
The Perfect Location
“Before it was at the AgriPark, we hosted the Pop-Up Skatepark a handful of times at various parks locations,” Adam said. “When we put it up in a parking lot, it’s outside and open air, but usually, the rough asphalt creates a problem. It’s really rocky, and you really have to push hard. Ideally, an indoor skatepark is smooth concrete, like the floor of the AgriPark barn, because the tiniest little rocks and pebbles can grab your wheel and toss you. The board is super sensitive to the surface that a polyurethane wheel rolls on. So, the surface is great, and it’s a heated space, which allows us to offer it in winter months.”
Acquired by the parks department a few years ago, the mobile skatepark consists of transportable elements of a traditional, permanent skatepark, complete with slide rails and ramps.
“Skating is a culture that I’ve always kind of been invested in. It’s a solo sport, but it’s much like rock climbing where, if you’re trying to learn a move or trick, or do a specific run, you collaborate with other skaters. As an adult, and for someone who has been a teacher, I find that kids are more enthusiastic and are more prone to learning when they see an adult who can do similar stuff or really engage them to help them. Some kids come in with a scooter or roller skates, and they see that we’ve got a couple extra skateboards, so I try to encourage them to try to at least ride a skateboard and hopefully generate some interest in the sport.”
Skating with Safety
The element of safety is important to us. By its nature, skating can lead to some tough falls, scraped knees and elbows.
“It’s nice to talk to the parents and see them realize how capable their kids are to do something like skating and skateboarding. The improvement that they see in just an hour or two is great,” Adam said. “I always like to tell parents that with skateboarding, or with any type of ‘extreme’ sports, the main thing that kids take from it is resiliency. It’s OK to fall down. You’re going to take falls; everybody does it, and you build a tougher skin because of it.”
Additionally, our staff is taking extra steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Capacity is limited at all sessions, with masks and registration required for contact tracing. Between sessions, all surfaces are cleaned and sanitized to make way for the next session’s participants.
Setting the Tone
Like some of our recent initiatives (Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Black History Month), our department has used music to enhance them.
“As a music lover, I wanted to hear songs that I knew were appropriate, that I liked, and that I knew were relevant,” Adam said. “Knowing we were going into February, it was important to me to highlight some black artists, so there’s some Motown in there, some modern hip hop, rock ‘n’ roll, etc. It’s filled with stuff that I like but also songs from video games like the Tony Hawk Pro Skater game series – good bands, good music. When it comes to skateboarding, you usually hear music with it that has a faster tune, a good beat – hip hop, punk rock, and rock in general really lend themselves to feeling that motivation to land a trick.”
The Future of the Skatepark
“This really is an opportunity for us to get an idea what the residents of Fishers want,” Adam said. “We’ve had a lot of people show interest in having a permanent skatepark in one of our parks.”
Registration is open now for free skating sessions each Saturday through March 13. See a full lineup of session times and dates here.
When AgriPark opens for the season and the event barn will be used for AgriPark activities, the Pop-Up Skatepark will move to other parks, with pop-up dates announced on social media. Be sure to catch these announcements by following us on Facebook and Instagram, and learn more about all Fishers Parks activities and events at playfishers.com.