Kickflips Allowed

In Buzz, December 2022/January 2023 by Lindsey Hyde1 Comment

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A temporary skate park is coming to DTR.  

Urban playground skating into the city? Raleigh is one step closer to finalizing plans for an amenity typically seen only in big cities like New York City, LA and Chicago.

Skate Raleigh, founded by Stephen Mangano and his 16-year-old son, Adrian—alongside John Cerqueira and Cody Charland—recently entered into a licensing agreement with the city to build Conlon Family Skate Park between Capital Boulevard and Peace Street (aka the land expected to one day become a city park—yet unnamed but formerly referred to as Devereux Meadow Park).

“It’s unbelievable,” says Mangano. “It is an obvious idea for that location—like once we tell people, they’re like, ‘Of course. Yeah, there needs to be a skate park there.’ To date, it’s been the easiest thing I’ve ever done.”

Potential Site Plan (Newline Skateparks)

Within just a few months, a community made up of teens and adults rallied behind the project, donating their time, funds and support. One of those people is Raleighite and Affordable Communities Group CEO and founder Mike Conlon, who donated $100,000 to the effort (hence the skate park’s name). 

“I look at it as anything that helps Raleigh come together—I think it’s great for the community,” says Conlon. But also from a diversity standpoint, I think—especially that location—it’ll bring a lot of people together from different backgrounds, races, etc., to enjoy something they all have in common.” With skateboarding being a low-barrier-to-entry sport, Mangano also emphasizes the diversity and community that it provides.

To date, Skate Raleigh has raised more than $200,000 of its initial $400,000 goal, which will go toward funding the park, as well as design improvements and events. 

Though not yet finalized, the park’s design will be tastefully simple. Rather than being chock-full of large ramps and bowls, it will include a lot of open space where people of all skill levels can take part in several wheeled sports—from skateboarding and scootering to roller-skating and biking.

“What you’re going to see is something you would find more in an urban plaza—so grindable benches, really mellow sloped embankments, flat bar railings, and smaller size banks and curbs,” says former pro skateboarder Kanten Russell, who also serves as a lead designer for New Line Skateparks, the firm engaged on the project. 

Sig Hutchinson, chair of the Wake County Board of Commissioners, emphasizes the park will not only be fun and inviting, but will also fill a need in the city. 

“I see this as an opportunity for skateboarding and other wheeled sports to become normalized and ultimately celebrated near Downtown.” 

—Will Alphin, owner of and a Skate Raleigh Advisory Board member

“Skateboarders have a hard time finding a place to do their sport, and so they tend to go places where they aren’t necessarily welcome,” he says. “This provides that opportunity to give them a safe place to practice where they can feel at home with their buddies—and they and their parents know that they’re going to be OK, and they’re going to be safe.”

One teen who is sure to be at the park with his friends once it’s built is Adrian, who has been part of the process every step of the way.  

“It feels pretty rewarding,” he says. “To be honest, [I’m most excited for] the skating, but also to see the community’s reaction to it and how they’ll interact with it and enjoy it and embrace it.” Alley-oop!

Support Squad 

Meet the sponsors/donors who’ve made Conlon Family Skate Park possible. 

  • Conlon family
  • York Properties Inc.
  • Raleigh Development Company
  • Loden Hospitality
  • Forno family
  • Mangano family
  • Halo 22
  • Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP
  • Endless Grind
  • Carpenter Development
  • Atlas Stark
  • Goldthwaite family

Skatepark Designer

  • New Line Skateparks

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