Advance for Change in Lexington Skate Park


Zane Ramsey, a skating thrasher, boards up the metal spine at the Lexington Skate Park.

Stephen Wells, Reporter

The Greater Rockbridge County Skateboarder Coalition (GRCSC), with the help of Lance Branham, Jeremy Young, Jason Burner, Mike Ferguson, Mike McAteer, Kimberly Hall Dorey, Mary Harvey-Halseth, Ray Worth, and many others started the initiative to fundraise and lift up the skating community to advance our present Lexington Skate Park, found on Waddell Street next to Maury River Middle School and the Lexington City Pool. 

This organization has started from the absence of a representative for the skating community in Rockbridge County. Branham found a purpose to bring people together through his endeavor of gathering personnel and promoting change for the park. The difficulties between on paper and turning it into an animative project has restricted them, and the process has been lengthy but worth it. 

Lance Branham, the founder of Greater Rockbridge County Skateboarder Coalition(GRCSC), has a goal for the changing of the skatepark.

 “[To] raise awareness of the park’s condition, [to] get the community involved, seed the park into existence with things that could be provided in increments do-it-yourself style, form an actual organization to keep the movement going in the community, get the park up and functional for fundraising events and to use that money to help develop other county localities such as [Buena Vista]” said Branham. 

Further on the park’s condition, they have so far added a slider rail, parking blocks, concrete four way launch ramp, steel rails, and a ‘rehabilitated fun box’ for tricks. Also, graffiti is encouraged here because they are planning to construct a mural at the park. This will enlighten the park and provide a new attraction as a public outlet with comradity. They have been permitted to do these advancements through community help and fundraising. One of these fundraises is a logo sticker sale. Over 1,000 stickers were purchased with a price of 2 dollars each. It has been an issue for them due to the difficulty of getting a ‘proper online sales outlet’. So far, 12% of the $2,000 goal has been reached. In the future, he is planning to host a skate jam, have a raffle, and post a GoFundMe page to raise more awareness and money for the cause. 

Those who are benefiting from this coalition and fundraiser range from young children to adults. Families, children, and college students have all been seen participating in this sport and culture. Branham understands the struggle for this sport and wants to advocate for those who chose to participate. A statement for this avocation and how these athletes take on a dissimilar experience is explained by Mr. Branham.

 “We are all the star-shaped pegs that don’t fit into society’s other round peg activities and at any age perpetrators of the myth that skateboarding is the coolest thing in the world at any age,” said Branham. 

More intrinsically into this stigma for this challenging sport, some people consider it a “unnecessary daredevil activity or a gateway to criminal activity or a male dominated sport.” However, Branham argues differently of the limitive perspective most individuals have on the sport as a bad thing and how many bonds are made along with friendships. 

“If it’s possible for a local basketball player to have ability to excel in that sport so well they could make it in the olympics, or an equestrian, or a fencer, how is it so far fetched that a skateboarder from this area that was provided a quality park to excel in could not achieve the same merits,” said Branham. 

This goes further into his main goal to achieve as an organization. Deep down, he wants the same opportunities for the ‘star-shaped pegs’ that the ‘round pegs’ are able to do. 

Mr. Branham is attempting to reach every transportation rider. Whether it is skateboarding, roller blading, biking, or scooter riding, they should have a personal spot to enjoy a session to ride around. Connecting the young and old together through this organization by maintaining presence of their efforts in the community for the sole betterment for a “living breathing park organism.”

The Coalition’s statement of their endeavor shows their dedication toward skaters.

“Our mission is to encourage, promote, enable and fund safe areas for skateboarding, in-line skating and biking in Rockbridge,” said Branham.

From the beginning up through the organization’s work at the moment, there has been a major amount of people across the local area that have assisted in the development to have a renewal of the park. Jeremy Young and Jason Burne have spread invites to over 100 people in the community on Facebook and helped out with logo contest, Mike Ferguson created the background pic for their social media, Mike McAteer won logo contest and made image that captures the community, Kimberly Hall Dorey started Lexington Skatepark Project and diligently submits proposals to the city for park revitalization, Mary Harvey-Halseth formed fundraising ideas, legal help for a non profit, garnered support from the Lexington Police Department, and contacted other university engineering departments, and  park vets/pre park vets have offered physical and monetary support.