Much anticipated $1.3 million public skatepark opens in Lakeland

Old skatepark shutdown three years ago

LAKELAND, Fla. - After nearly three years of waiting, skateboarders in Lakeland now have a park just for them.

The new, state of the art, Lakeland Skatepark opened this week to crowds of anxious skaters. Just a few days in, and some people are driving more than 100 miles to check it out.

"It's a great park.  I mean, the money they spent is going to benefit everyone in Florida," said Jamie Burrows, who traveled with his son from Stuart, Florida.

When city leaders designed the park, they decided not to cut any corners.  It cost about $1.3 million, with a little something for everyone.

"It's got two bowls, a flow course, a street course, and a snake run," said Cooper Burrows, Jamie's son.

The city's old park got shut down a few years ago when the hospital purchased the land to expand.

It left many skaters devastated. One even made a tribute video for the occasion.

The skaters got together and encouraged the city to build a new one, and the city listened.

"We had, for two-and-a-half years, the only place they had to skate were the streets," said Pam Page, Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation for the Lakeland.

Page played a primary role in getting the new skate park off the ground.

She, along with other city leaders and a group of skaters, actually took field trips to other skate parks and then helped design the new park.

"A whole bunch of kids are going to be camping out here.  They're not even going to go home," said Leo Salazar, who said he's been at the park every day since it has opened.

The best part for skaters:  The park is free, and there's plenty of shade.

With summer just around the corner, the new addition to Lake Bonny Park may become a home away from home for many kids and adults.

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