THORNTON, Colo. — A newly renovated skate park has opened in the City of Thornton, and it's drawing skaters from all across the Denver metro area.
“After work, we'll go skate every day," said Tyler Mitchell, a 20-year-old skateboarder from Westminster.
In the days between the falling snow and chilly winter temperatures, Coloradans usually get to enjoy some bluebird days and mild weather, and it makes for a perfect opportunity for people of all ages to come out and enjoy the upgraded Thomas J. Slocum Memorial Skate Park off 95th Avenue.
The park has been filled with skaters since it reopened in December.
“It's probably one of, like, my favorite parks here,” Mitchell said.
The skate park — named after 22-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Thomas J. Slocum, who was killed in action while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 — has been around for two decades, but it was in need of an upgrade.
With the help of Team Pain, a company known for its skate park designs, the City of Thornton turned the existing 15,000-square-foot skate park into a one-of-a-kind, 22,000-square-foot facility.
“It's cool to see that this might be the future of skateboarding and the city putting money in and investing,” said Dakota Pendleton, a 21-year-old skateboarder from Westminster.
The $1.5 million park was funded from the city’s Parks and Open Space sales tax — which was approved by voters in 1997 and extended in 2013 to 2038 — and an Adams County Open Space Grant.
"A new skate park was seen as way to dramatically help reinvigorate the park," said Andrew Tadross with the City of Thornton. "We expect it to be a draw for many years to come."
So far, it’s already been a hit for the skating community.
“They did a good job of including, like, stuff to learn on and for other people who are a lot better to skate here,” Mitchell said.
Tadross said more features are in store for the park area, including a mural, lighting and a shade structure.
"The whole culture of skateboarding is exploding right now," Pendleton said. "And it's awesome to see the city really acknowledge that and put time into it."
The area surrounding the skate park has also been upgraded, including a new basketball court, tennis courts and an outdoor restroom. The existing community center building will also be demolished in the future and will be rebuilt with plans that include an Anythink Library annex. The playground on the property will also eventually be rebuilt.