CORAL SPRINGS, FL – At age 57, Steve Simmons still likes to ride on a skateboard, although these days, he prefers the electric version.
The longtime Coral Springs resident has skateboarded since he was a teenager and believes the sport is a way to bring the young and old together.
“It’s truly for everyone,” he said.
As he sees it, Coral Springs is missing an opportunity to create a hub for skateboarding in the region and bring in more revenue and exposure to the city.
The city’s skateboarding facility at Betti Stradling Park at 10301 Wiles Rd has plenty of ramps and areas for “free-styling,” but it could be better, he said.
“It’s a modern and great park, but we could add more features to really bring a lot more people here to enjoy it,” Simmons said.
Through social media and calls, Simmons has pushed city officials since the fall to upgrade the 16-year-old facility, so it can attract top-level skaters, bigger tournaments and sponsors, and just more excitement.
The park, he said, needs a bowl (kind of like a pool without water) for skateboarders to slide from side-to-side, as well as taller ramps made out of concrete and a path around the place.
And it could use more publicity in the community, he added.
“It’s kind of on the side and many people don’t know about it,” he said.
Simmons is married, works at Home Depot, and says he doesn’t want anything other than to create a better destination for skateboarding in Coral Springs.
“This can be a really cool place and a lot more people will come to the city,” he said.
The idea of upgrading the facility – sometime in the near future – is welcomed by some city commissioners.
“I’ve been out there and used it,” Vice Mayor Josh Simmons said this week. “Let’s add some enhancements, improvements, upgrades, and things to get the most out of the skate park.”
Simmons, who isn’t related to Steve Simmons, said he also supports adding tournaments there.
“This is what we’re all about in our park system,” he said.
Mayor Scott Brook agreed as well.
On Wednesday, the commission extended the contract of a vendor, All Out Skate, which runs the facility and pays the city 25 percent of net profits on a quarterly basis, according to a city memo.
For Steve Simmons, skateboarding has been a way to make lifelong friends and stay out of trouble when he was younger.
That’s why he hopes Coral Springs will update the park and help more local youth find joy in the sport.
“Even now when I ride, I feel like a kid. I love the speed and wind behind me,” he said. “It’s a great sport. There’s nothing like it.”
Simmons wants other skateboarders to join him in pushing to improve the city’s skating park. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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