5 new skate parks coming down the half-pipe in Montgomery Co.

Get your bikes and boards ready because Montgomery County, Maryland, has five more skate parks in the works. But before planners can build, they want to hear from the experts.

“There’s a saying that if you don’t build skate parks, your entire town becomes a skate park,” said Darren Flusche, the division chief for the county’s Park Planning and Stewardship division.

The county has three skate parks already at Olney Manor, Takoma Piney Branch and Woodside Urban parks. But Montgomery County is fulfilling a high demand for more skate parks, Flusche said.

Planners are gearing up to build:

  • Ovid Hazen Wells Recreational Skate Park
  • Wheaton Regional Park Adventure Sports Park
  • Long Branch Local Park Skate Park
  • Newport Mill Skate Park
  • South Germantown Recreational Park Skate Park

The county recently launched a two-month survey asking for special features to be added to the parks. Flusche said the campaign ends on Sept. 30.

“Believe me, you don’t want 44-year-old me making all of these decisions about skate park design,” he said. “The details matter. We have to go to the experts, who are the users.”

The skate parks draw mostly teenagers who enjoy skateboarding, but the county wants to expand the welcome mat to many different users.

“Skate parks are built in such a way that people feel like it’s an exclusive use,” Flusche said. “They say, ‘Oh, that’s for really good skaters. It’s intimidating.’ We think that through a combination of design and marketing we can create skate parks that feel much more welcoming and inclusive.”

Some design options appeal to in-line skaters, bikers and outdoor sports lovers as well, Flusche said. For instance, the Wheaton Regional Park Adventure Sports Park could offer BMX tracks, climbing walls and obstacle courses for adults.

“That’s going to be a huge center for adventure sports in the county,” Flusche said.

To add your ideas and suggestions to the county’s skate park survey, go to the Montgomery Parks website.

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