OCEAN CITY – The world’s oldest skate park will soon undergo some repairs, thanks largely to last week’s announcement that the Dew Tour is coming to town.
Recreation and Parks Director Tom Shuster said that the Ocean Bowl Skate Park is the oldest continuously operated skate park in the United States.
“It is also one of the assets that we have that makes us a tourist destination community,” Shuster said on Tuesday.
According to Assistant Director of Recreation and Parks Susan Petito the Ocean Bowl Skate Park is in need of immediate repair. The vertical ramp is worn and outdated, and the pool section has experienced substantial deterioration.
“The Ocean Bowl Skate Park certainly does have a considerable significance in the world of skateboarding,” Petito said. “We are the oldest skate park not only in the country but in the world.”
Petito requested the Mayor and City Council grant $36,400 for the renovation and for it to be considered an “emergency purchase” so that a contractor could move forward in repairs immediately.
Skate Park Manager Dave Messick said the money would go 100 percent into the right repairs for the park plus a little more. He explained that the original skate bowl was built as a swimming pool but the repairs will create it into a certified skate bowl.
The repairs have become critical with the announcement of the Dew Tour coming to town July 21-24. The Dew Tour is a professional action sports tour, which encompasses BMX, skateboarding, and now that it is coming to Ocean City, surfing too. The world’s best extreme sport athletes compete for prize money, trophies, and points on the overall Dew Cup standing. The tour produces over 50 million viewers and 220,000 participants worldwide.
The renovations had been put on hold in recent years in anticipation of expanding the park. According to Petito, with the Dew Tour coming to town an increase of skating at the park is expected resulting in an increase in revenue. It is also a possibility that the Dew Tour is considering the park as a potential host site for some of its events.
The department hopes the expected increase in skating participants at the park and the renovations will kick off a fundraising campaign to raise funds to move towards the postponed expansion.
Councilwoman Mary Knight made the motion to approve the request to allocate $36,400 towards the repairs of the park and the council voted unanimously to approve the motion.
“I know that these improvements need to be made,” Council President Jim Hall said.