Thanks to the work of a local business owner and the attention of the Oscar nominated documentary, a long held dream for many is close to becoming a reality.
Davis Park, in downtown Rockford, could soon be a destination for area skateboarders.
Someone has come forward to fund the project, allowing Rockford skaters to soon have a place to call their own.
Forest city native and director of “Minding the Gap” Bing Liu dreamed of having a skate park in Rockford. Ground Floor Skateboards owner Eric Neubauer says the idea could shortly come to life.
“Bing and I have talked about this for years,” Neubauer said. “Through the movie, you’ve seen what skateboarding means to them.”
The skate spot is planned to go in the second floor of Founders Landing at Davis Park. The 6,000 square foot space will include ramps.
“Just an attempt to use something we have already, find new life in it,” Neubauer said. “Use some local people as well and have them contribute.”
A local donor is helping fund the project. Neubauer says the Rockford Park District is also involved.
“Yeah, the momentum is there, so we’re going with it,” Neubauer said. “The Minding The Gap Foundation is actually consulting with us a little bit and we’ve talked to the Tony Hawk Foundation a little bit.”
Neubauer says the future park is meant to be temporary.
“Until they re-do Davis Park with the new hotel and everything,” Neubauer said. “Then, we’ll get concrete and permanent.”
While some have expressed concerns about potential gang activity and graffiti, Neubauer says he’s not worried.
“Are there going to be abuses of it and some negativity? Of course, but that happens everywhere and anywhere,” Neubauer said. “We’re not going to focus on that, we’re going on the good that’s going to happen of it.”
The skate shop owner says “Minding the Gap” stars Bing Liu and Keire Johnson are excited about the park. Although the movie follows the story of them as skateboarders, there is actually thousands more in the stateline.
“Now, we have a place to hangout and meet up and call our own,” Neubauer said. “It can’t be overstate how awesome that is and important it is to the skaters here in town.”
The park will be open to the public. Neubauer hopes to have it open by this June.