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A grand opening planned for next Saturday will give visitors a chance to try out the newly expanded attraction

JASON CHANEY - A grand opening celebration is planned at Prineville's community skate park for Saturday, Sept. 21, featuring free food, professional skater demonstrations, and music.

Prineville's new and improved community skate park is finally reopening next weekend.

Expansion and renovation of the existing park, which Dreamland Skateparks has conducted throughout the summer months, is set to conclude in the coming days and next Saturday, Crook County Parks and Recreation District is throwing a party to celebrate.

"I'm excited," said Duane Garner, executive director of the parks district. "I think there are a lot of people excited about it."

The event, scheduled from noon to 2 p.m., will lead off with a Chamber of Commerce-led ribbon cutting and then skaters and other visitors alike will be treated to a demonstration on the new park courtesy of professional skaters. Garner noted that Dreamland Skateparks has scheduled a number of pro riders to attend the grand opening.

After that, "everybody can get out there and play," Garner said, adding that people can help themselves to burgers, hot dogs and ice cream, all of which will be provided free of charge.

The skate park expansion has doubled the footprint of the existing park and all of the metal ramps have been replaced with concrete ones. The plaza-style park is built primarily above ground and features bowls, ramps, a step feature and railings. Dreamland Skateparks designed the park with the help of about 60 local kids who weighed in during public sessions regarding what they would like the expanded park to feature.

Project plans have changed a bit since the project broke ground this spring.

"One thing we realized right off the bat, once the contractors showed up on site, is the blueprints we had come up with actually called for removing a big tree in the corner of the park," Garner explained. "I really wanted to save that tree. It a nice tree, it's a mature tree."

So the design was altered to spare the tree, which resulted in some changes to the features, but Garner believes some of those changes enhanced the park. For example, a planned pump track in the area was converted to what Garner described as a canal-shaped bowl. In addition, the portion of the park near the tree is steeper and in an attempt to keep the dirt beneath the concrete in place, a retaining wall designed to look like a rock wall was built.

"And then they built a concrete bench right on the side," he added, "so they kind of created this social gathering place near the tree."

Aside from those changes, the majority of the features planned for the park were built as anticipated. Garner said the plaza-style park is mostly built up from the ground, and though it features bowls, they do not drop very far below ground level due to the high water table in the area.

The skate park expansion is one of several upgrades planned for the area. A pickleball court renovation is taking place just south of the skate park. Though it is nearly finished, it won't be done in time for the skate park grand opening. Diagonal parking planned along Juniper Street in front of the two attractions will also wait until a later date.

Other upgrades to the area include some landscaping work by the parks district at some point during the fall and Garner noted that some local builders are looking into adding a sheltered picnic area near the upgraded attractions.

But the skate park will be completely finished by the grand opening and Garner expects it to not only draw a crowd next Saturday, but in the days ahead.

"The word is out in the skating community that Prineville has a Dreamland skate park. They have quite a reputation," he said. "I would expect to see people showing up from out of the area to use this park."

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The Prineville community skate park grand opening will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21 from noon to 2 p.m.


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