Popular Brigantine skatepark reopens after three years of closure for renovations | Local News

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BRIGANTINE — The city reopened its skate park on July 15, about three years after it closed for renovations that were later delayed due to the pandemic.

The $325,000 renovations included completely redesigning the bowl, repairing cracks and surfaces so the park would comply with all state regulations.

“We wanted to make sure we were delivering on his promise to the public,” Mayor Vince Sera said, referring to former Mayor Andy Simpson’s vow to keep the skate park open.

Simpson died in 2020 at age 62 due to complications from kidney disease. Popular and quick-witted, the former mayor was known for helping others. Sera, who replaced Simpson as mayor, said at the time of his death it was like losing a brother.

The park was condemned in early October 2019 by the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund after it was determined not to be in compliance with regulations due to cracks and sunken surfaces in the skating bowl, as well than a broken door.

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A community outcry in favor of keeping the skate park at an October 2019 council meeting, hosted by Simpson to get public opinion on the issue, led to the council giving people what they wanted : a renovated skate park.

Sera said the park’s repair plans have been further delayed due to the pandemic. The process of learning what they needed to do to keep the skate park idle. But after the worst of the pandemic wore off and things started to reopen, the city was able to resume planning.

The Brigantine Skate Park, at 4100 Bayshore Ave., is open from 8 a.m. to dusk seven days a week. City police are doing routine checks.

“If we had an employee, that would mean we could only open it between certain hours and certain hours,” Sera said of the city’s decision to have the park checked by police officers instead of hiring. a full-time or part-time employee. employee. “We wanted to make sure it was open and available at all times.”

Many people, including children, who spoke for the reopening of the skate park at the 2019 council meeting were at the recent grand reopening of the park.

Carter Doorley, 10, who advocated for the skate park at that council meeting, cut the ribbon at the reopening.

Doorley, despite his youth, is well known in Brigantine for his community work as well as being a local Instagram sensation for his nearly 800 consecutive daily surf posts.

With the help of her parents, Doorley has led food drives and donated to organizations like Heart of Surfing, a nonprofit that provides free skateboarding and surfing lessons for families with disabilities. special needs. Once he heard that the skate park would be reopening, he used his Instagram to donate skateboards and skate gear so that any child who wanted to use the skate park could do so, even if they didn’t have not his own equipment.

“He also stood out a lot for us because he really took his love for surfing and turned it into a way of doing good in the community. And we wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could. to encourage him, and other kids like him,” Sera said.

Dawn Doorley said that when Sera asked her son to cut the ribbon, he was very surprised but delighted to finally be able to skate again.

“It gives us something to do. We don’t have to stay home and watch TV,” Carter said.

Joe Wozniak, from Brigantine, and his daughter, Bella, 13, were out on Friday afternoon to enjoy the renovated park to spend time together.

“We love the place, it’s never too crowded and it’s good for progression,” said Joe Wozniak, who has been skateboarding for over 30 years. “It’s easy to get into it, so she can progress.”

Bella Wozniak has been skating for about three years. She’s been to other skate parks, but said her favorite parts of Brigantine Park are bowling and wall riding.

“I like that it’s very open and there’s a lot of space,” Bella Wozniak said.

Other skaters, including Kay Nakamura from Brigantine, said he liked the proximity to the skate park, which is the main reason he comes here.

“I surf more than I skate, so when there’s no good surfing and I want to do something fun, I like to come here to skate,” 22-year-old Nakamura said.

Nakamura said he usually only sees three or four people when he comes, which is a plus for him. But his favorite feature of the skate park, besides the bowl, are the manual skates he can jump on and back into the bowl.

Nakamura said he’s been to the skate park at least five times since it opened.

“It’s like any other sport. People of all ages can come here, exercise. It’s like having a football or baseball field,” he said.

Joe Wozniak said he’s glad the city is keeping the park because it’s good for the community and its children.

“I’m not from here, but I know a lot of people who grew up here who say the park was part of their childhood, so sharing that with their kids makes this park special,” said Joe Wozniak.

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