New skate park gets rolling

Hundreds turn out for contests, prizes

Bryan Marz, age 13, from Grand Junction landing a backflip on his Razor during the Grand opening of the Long Family Memorial Sake Park, 3118 E 1/2 Rd in GJ.

As BMX bikers and scooter riders took turns grinding on rails and zooming up and down the ramps and half pipes, 11-year-old Ben Ryndfleisz, his 9-year-old sister Katy and their friend, 10-year-old Tora Pruitt, took a break from skateboarding and ticked off all the things they like about the Grand Valley’s newest skate park.

“The ramps are a lot smoother and a lot easier to use” than other local skate parks, Ben said.

“It’s more open to the public,” Tora said while munching some nachos.

Not to mention, Ben added, “It doesn’t hurt as much when you fall.”

The raves were as plentiful as the people Saturday as hundreds of youngsters and their families swarmed one corner of Long Family Memorial Park, 3118 E 1/2 Road, to celebrate the grand opening of the 11,000-square-foot skate park, the largest in the valley.

Mesa County and Traz Snow and Skate marked the event with a variety of skate competitions. Traz, Ruby Canyon Cycles and Children’s Playstructures & Recreation, which built the $278,500 park, gave away more than $2,000 in bikes, boards and other prizes.

Ben and Katy’s mother, Ceanna Ryndfleisz, said she appreciates having a public place where kids of all ages can hang out. She said her family recently returned from a trip to Long Island, N.Y., where skaters and bikers had to have a membership and live in the neighborhood where the skate park was located in order to use it.

“I think it’s a great activity for kids, good exercise,” she said. “It seems like a pretty safe environment.”

The skate park actually opened a little more than a month ago, just before school started. Greg Linza, county parks and landscape manager, said usage dropped off once classes were back in session for the fall.

“But when it gets to be around 2:30, 3 o’clock (in the afternoon), there are anywhere from 50 to 100 kids in it,” he said.


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