The 2020 plans for a new skatepark in Atchison, KS may be put into action two years earlier than originally planned.
The skatepark has gained support from the city council and various businesses in town who have been fundraising for the cause since 2018. One business that supports the cause is Flyby Nutrition, which is managed by Randy Silkwood.
The skatepark project is sponsored by Skate High With Hope, which is run by Pamela Cline and Jeremy Watkins.
“I think the skatepark is great and I know that we here at Flyby are 100% behind it,” Silkwood said. “We will do whatever we can and I know the community feels the same way. We love it. I think, really, this is something we’re all, at this point, working for together.”
In addition to financial support, the skatepark also has a location approved by the Parks and Recreation Committee of Atchison: Reisner Park at Tenth St. and Kearney St.
“It’s a place to go,” Watkins said. “People feel like they’re just trapped or they have nothing. They can just go here and do whatever.”
“But also, the feeling of accomplishment,” Cline added. “I remember watching our kids as soon as they tried a trick. Just the joy in their face, knowing that they set out to do something and they did it.”
Cline and Watkins started Skate High With Hope after their son, Joshua Kinsman, passed away in 2018. According to Cline, her son loved to skateboard around Atchison and always dreamed of having a skatepark in town.
“I think the entire story behind the skatepark is enough to bring any normal person down to their knees,” Silkwood said. “It’s humbling to see that someone is taking something so tragic and trying to turn it into something that will have such an immense positive impact on the community.”
Cline and Watkins believe the skatepark will impact the greater Atchison community, both by giving youth a place to enjoy and drawing more commerce to the town.
“I think some peoples’ perception is that we are grieving parents that might want a park because our child passed away but, in reality, this isn’t going to do our family any justice,” Cline said. “This is for everybody else in town now.”
Skate High With Hope hosts regular fundraisers in Atchison and St. Joseph, Mo. To track the progress or see plans for the skatepark, visit the Skate High With Hope Facebook page. The page also lists upcoming fundraisers and ways to contribute to the cause through the Joshua Kinsman Foundation.