APOLLO BEACH — Employees of Team Pain, builders of the new Apollo Beach Skate Park, stopped by the park recently to try out their work after completion of the skating arena. But the park is not yet ready for local skaters as construction is still going on at the site.
“The park has been something many of us in the community have been trying to get for about fifteen years,” said Pat Woolweaver, president of the Apollo Beach Focus Group that works for community betterment.
About two years ago, a dog park and skate park were planned by Hillsborough County, and the dog park was built and opened first.
Then, in mid-February, land clearing began and an eight-foot fence went around the area previously identified in public meetings as the best for a skate park.
The actual skating area is 12,000 square feet, located just south of (behind) the tennis courts at the Apollo Beach Recreation Center, 664 Golf and Sea Blvd., which also has weight rooms, a children’s play area, sports and many scheduled activities.
A new building is being constructed as part of the skate park, said project supervisor Tiger Harver from Hillsborough County’s Construction Department. The building, made of block, will house several sections, including a small office, restrooms and a rental equipment area.
Shorty Robbins, a supervisor with Parks, Recreation and Conservation, said the rental room will contain safety equipment the skaters who come may not have with them.
“They must check in on the (west) side of the building to enter, and sign their waivers,” Robbins said. “Then the person on duty can see if they have the proper knee pads and helmets. If they don’t, they can be rented there.”
Those who are admitted will then pass through another door to enter the park, which will ensure safety of all skaters, she added.
The park is scheduled to open the third week of July.
Team Pain, designers and builders of the skating area, is a world-famous group that has built skate ramps for the National Skateboard Association as well as many private organizations and parks.
Team Pain was begun by Tim Payne in 1980s, beginning with backyard versions and progressing to one of the top builders in the field. Their work may be viewed at http://teampain.com/team.
The Team Pain website says the reason they have done so well is that Payne and his crew have always brainstormed with skaters to find out what they want in each area where they build.
Two years ago a meeting was held at the Apollo Beach Recreation Center and reported in The Observer News where many young skaters talked about the kinds of facilities and ramps they wanted to see.
“It will be such a pleasure to give these kids a place like this to go,” Woolweaver said.
“When it first opens there will be no charge, but once a fee schedule is approved (by County Commissioners) we will have to start charging entrance fees of $4 per day or people may buy an annual pass of $150. The annual passes will be reciprocal for all Hillsborough County and City of Tampa skate parks,” Robbins said.
The total project cost was $600,000 and was paid for out of impact fees which are amounts charged when developers build new housing.
Impact fees are not charged when homes are resold, but when new homes are built on land that has previously been vacant, bringing more people to an area. The impact fee monies paid by builders are used to increase infrastructure and build and/or renovate parks and other necessary things to accommodate having more people in the area.
Team Pain also built a skate park at Providence Park East in Brandon earlier this year, which is now open to the public, but it is a different design than the one going in Apollo Beach. The building that was already there to accommodate the Brandon Bears softball team was divided to give the skate park the office space it needed.
Jack Reeder, Apollo Beach park manager, is also pleased about the new addition to the recreation center. “This will be something kids will come from all over to use,” Reeder said.