BY BRANDY TEMPLETON

Saturday was an exciting day for skateboarders in Statesville and the surrounding area.

With the official opening of the new David J. Meachem Cultural, Arts, Sports & Technology Campus, local skaters don’t have to go far from home to do what they love legally for the sport they love.

The family-friendly park will be open 24/7 with those 12 and up to skate without supervision. The facility will be remotely monitored by the Statesville Police Department.

Located at 110 West Allison Street, the skatepark is one of several new amenities offered by the Statesville Housing Authority. There is also new playground equipment along with a stage area and a basketball/pickleball court.

The campus is named in honor of former SHA Director David J. Meachem.

For around four months, local skaters volunteered their time and talents to make their new space, creating urban artwork, ramps, rails, and ledges, and halfpipes. The new sound system added to the experience.

A long-time skater, Christian Griffith, 29, felt like he’d found a new home away from home.

For years he’s been skating “anywhere he could without getting caught by the police.”

The prospect of run-ins with law enforcement has never deterred him from doing what he loves.

“Skateboarding kinda found me,” he shared. “I was one of the kids that didn’t fit anywhere. And it kept me from getting into trouble.”

Griffith worked with the Statesville Housing Authority to bring the old Yokefellow building to life. The team felt like a park “built and managed by skateboarders” was the best way to go.

“This is a place for others like me to come so they have a place to belong. This is community based. This is our home,” he said. “You are welcomed when you walk in here.”

Daniel Dublin and Dario Rocha agreed they felt welcomed.

Dublin, who has his own shop, came from Mooresville to try out the new park.

“Just hanging out — the energy felt like home,” he said. “This place was built from the ground up with nothing but love as the final goal.”

Rocha agreed.

Originally from Pasadena, Calif., he said the skatepark is the closest to home he’s felt. After working all day, he helped build the new facility with a group dedicated to the project.

“We all had this dream for years,” Rocha said. “We’ve been 20 people deep on the weekends.”

Tyler Tufty drove from Huntersville to check out the new skatepark. He was in awe of the new place.

“It’s great seeing these guys work with what they have. It’s not polished, but it works.”

The new facility has been a 27-year dream-in-the making for Meachem.

Darbah Skaf, the current SHA executive director, and board member Bernardeane Moton presented Meachem with a plaque commemorating the new Cultural, Arts, Sports & Technology Campus.

Saying he was “humbled” by the recognition, Meachem credited his home life for his desire to push forward and pursue his dreams and goals.

“It was a work of love. I did what I did,” he said.

Photos

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