NEW skate ramps being installed in Taunton could draw big-name professionals from far afield – and give local young people the chance to experience the thrills of top class facilities.
A vert ramp and mini ramp are opening at the Hudson Way recreation area – and the vert ramp will be the only one of its kind in Somerset and neighbouring counties.
The ramps will be officially unveiled on May 24 by Mayor of Taunton Deane, Cllr Catherine Herbert, while professional skater Richard Parker, who lives locally, and his brother Robert will demonstrate their breath-taking skills at the opening ceremony.
The ramps are supplied by G Ramps with the concrete base coming from Parsons Landscapes, Stoke St Mary. The cost of the £109,506 project is fully being funded by a Section 106 developer contribution from the development at Silk Meadows so comes at no cost to local tax-payers.
Richard, a professional inline vert skater, said: “My sport has taken me all around the world while competing and performing in shows/displays. After turning professional aged 17 I have gone on to win five European Championship titles as well as a silver medal at the X-Games in China.
“I now work as an athlete mentor delivering workshops, assemblies and coaching sessions at schools through www.richparkertraining.com, I also work in a similar capacity for the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust and the Youth Sport Trust.
“I am so excited that Taunton has this amazing new facility. I grew up in Taunton and first started learning to skate with my brother on the small old metal ramp in Staplegrove, which these new ramps have replaced. Taunton already has a really good skatepark over in Hamilton Park.
“This new facility offers something completely different and something that will appeal to a different kind of skater/rider, so it’s really great for our town that we have so much variety here.
“The larger of the two new ramps is a vert ramp and is the only ramp of this type in not only this county, but also in our immediate neighbouring counties. The next closest vert ramps are in Cornwall, Hampshire and Birmingham. The new park is being built by one of the best ramp providers in the world, G-Ramps, who have been building ramps since the mid 1990s.
“Growing up, my brother and I travelled thousands of miles per week in order to use this kind of ramp and so now I’m really pleased that young people in our area will have access to a vert and all of the amazing opportunities that can come from it. Thank you to Taunton Deane Borough Council for providing us all with these brilliant new facilities.”
Cllr Vivienne Stock-Williams, executive member for sport, parks and leisure, said: “I am delighted we are able to offer this fantastic facility in Taunton. Richard has expressed so clearly what this will mean to those who will be using it.”