From Tokyo to Loudoun Co.: Olympic-style skate park to open in months

If you watched the first-ever inclusion of skateboarding at the Tokyo Olympics and thought it looked fun, you’ll have the chance to approximate the experience next year, in Loudoun County, Virginia.

The 257-acre Hal & Berni Hanson Regional Park project, being built along Evergreen Mills Road in Arcola, between the Brambleton and Willowsford communities, includes a skate park designed by Wally Hollyday, who designed the one in Tokyo.

“This is about a 20,000-square-foot facility that has a lot of features you’re seeing right now on TV during the Olympics,” said Matt Letourneau, county supervisor from the Dulles South district, where the regional park is being built.

“It has these half-pipe and quarter-pipe features,” said Letourneau. “It’s got an area adjacent to it that’s sort of a plaza, where people can gather and watch.”

 

The regional park will include 17 athletic fields with lighting and more than 75 acres of recreational space and infrastructure.

“So, in addition to fields and tennis courts and basketball courts, it also has nature trails, a nature center, a lodge for events and beautiful water features,” said Letourneau. “This was actually land that was donated by a family for the purpose of having a parks and recreation facility.”

The owner of the land — Haldore ‘Hal’ Hanson — was a writer and State Department official who died in 1992. The land was acquired by the county in 2009 through negotiations with the Hanson family, Dominion Power and the National Park Service, as part of a United States Department of Interior program.

Letourneau said community members have long hoped for a skate park.

“We look at our demographics and we’re a young county, so when we build new facilities, we want to meet the needs of our residents,” said Letourneau. “We actually have a full-size cricket pitch that we’re building in Hanson Park, which is reflective of some of the demographics that we have in the area.”

While cricket has been popular in England, India and Australia, increasing numbers of Indians and West Indians have moved to the U.S. — including Loudoun County — in the last few decades.

The skate park will benefit more than just avid skaters, said Letourneau.

“We also have a lot of young people. There’s heightened interest in skating. As we’ve grown with more people, this is what they want, so we’re trying to meet those needs,” he said.

“We’re trying to give students a place to hang out,” Letourneau added. “We want to give young people alternatives to other activities that might not be as good for them.”

Letourneau said the regional park is expected to be complete by spring of 2022.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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