Medina resident wants upgrades to skate park

Photos by Tom Rivers: Alex Feig, left, shows some of the deterioration to the equipment and cracks in the asphalt at the skate park to Mayor Mike Sidari, and Joe Perry, superintendent of the Department of Public Works.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 August 2018 at 9:32 pm

Skate Jam on Sept. 15 may indicate if community interest in skate park improvements

Alex Feig shows one of the long cracks in the asphalt at the skate park that can cause people to tumble off their skateboards.

MEDINA – Alex Feig sees a revamped skate park as another draw for the Medina community, enhancing the quality of life for local residents and also bringing visitors to the village.

Medina has site for skateboarders at Butts Park. But the site, built on a former tennis court, has cracks in the asphalt and the 20-year-old ramps, ledges and quarter pipes are showing their age.

“We have the space but right now it’s being underutilized,” Feig said about the skate park on South Main Street at Butts.

Feig, 32, would like to see the asphalt, which is prone to deterioration, be replaced with a concrete surface. The tennis courts are also too big. A smaller area would be better, Feig said. He’d like to see the fences removed so it’s an open area. If he had his wish, he would like to see bowls that skaters would go down and pick up speed and then be able to do different skating tricks.

Other communities have opened skating parks, including Amherst just last month. The Alix Rice Peace Park has a series of deep concrete bowls and other challenging features.

Feig has reached out the Tony Hawk Foundation, which has matching funds to develop new skate parks.

“If we dream big it could become a tourist attraction,” Feig said. “Skate parks can draw a lot of people in.”

Feig has planned a skate jam on Sept. 15 at the skate park at Butts from 1 to 4 p.m. The event is led by the Medina Skate Society with the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition a sponsor. Orleans United for eight years held a skating competition and demonstration at the park.

The Sept. 15 event includes a competition for the best trick. There will also be free food and music, and a skateboard and helmet giveaway.

Feig also wants to use the event to gauge interest in upgrading the skate park. It would take community fundraising to improve the site.

Alex Feig meets with Mayor Mike Sidari at the site today. Feig said concrete would be a better surface than asphalt. Feig also said the fences should be removed and area made smaller. A big goal would be to have bowls that people could skate in.

The village already is using about $500 given in memory of Luke Nelson, a skateboarder from Middleport who often used the park. He was 23 when he passed away on April 22, 2017. The money given in his memory went towards a repair kit for the cracks in the asphalt.

Luke’s mother, Terri Nelson, said she would like to see a bench at the park for parents to sit while they watch their children. She brought her son to the park numerous times because there wasn’t a designated spot in Middleport where skateboarders felt welcome.

Feig, who works at WBTA radio station in Batavia, said skateboarding was popular when he was a kid 20 years ago. He got away from it as a young adult but now is back at it.

“It’s a physical activity, but it’s also an artform,” Feig said about skateboarding. “Everyone goes at their own pace.”

Skateboarding will be a sport in the Olympics for the first time in 2020. He expects the sport will get a boost from that, drawing more participants.

Terri Nelson, Alex Feig and Pat Crowley, director of the Orleans United Drug Free Communities Coalition, hold a banner promoting a skate jam on Sept. 15 at Butts Park.

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