Cedar Park, Texas


Back in about 2004 the City of Cedar Park approved $125,000 dollars for a skateboard park in one of the city’s parks. Every time they tried to approve a location the surrounding neighbors would show up to protest and they did not want this built in their back yard. So the money sat for a few years until the city decided to go in with Williamson County Parks to combine the money with a skatepark right outside of Cedar Park in a county park.

In 2007, I met a local skater my age Darrell Lowrance who told me that Cedar Park has a skatepark on the books. Unfortunately, they could not find a place to build it and he asked if I knew anyone in the Parks Department. As it turns out the Parks Director was my neighbor and we are friends with him and his wife. So I started emailing him on what we need to do to get this park built. He responded by saying, “Find a location and we will see what we can do.”

One of my main points towards increasing the budget was to build a park that would be good enough to bring in people from out of town to skate and spend money. As a result, the 4B Board upped the funding for this project from $125,000 to $500,000 dollars. Shortly, after that it was approved by the city and we were on our way to a world class park.

Our first location we suggested was the pink ditch which was already a popular skate spot for many locals. Then the city came back with a second phase of a sports park that was a half a mile from the pink ditch. The park was already developed with a disc golf course, baseball fields and soccer fields. We met with the parks dept and walked the area and designated a spot of land which is now the skatepark.

So we got the skatepark back on the agenda and we were also able to get the money back from the county for the Cedar Park skatepark fund. Once the parks department approved this project we were now able to present this project in front of the 4B Board. The 4B Board is a community development corporation which helps in funding projects like streets, transportation systems, entertainment projects and park facilities.

We argued we could not build the same type of park that was approved back then with today’s increasing construction costs. That is when I started talking to the local skate shops and we packed the 4B meeting with local skateboarders to a standing room only capacity. The 4B Board was blown away because they had never had that many kids at any meeting. The kids signed up to speak including my own son with this statement,  “ I have played football at school, many years of baseball at LCP little league in Cedar Park…I also like to skateboard with my friends and the city has not done a thing to help with a legal place to skate…. here are all the trespassing warnings my friends and I have been issued skating at the local schools.”

One of my main points towards increasing the budget was to build a park that would be good enough to bring in people from out of town to skate and spend money. As a result, the 4B Board upped the funding for this project from $125,000 to $500,000 dollars. Shortly, after that it was approved by the city and we were on our way to a world class park.

During all this we were also in contact with the parks director of Williamson County who had previously donated money to park projects in Cedar Park. Luckily, we talked him into donating an additional $50,000 to the skatepark bringing the total tab to $550,000 dollars.

Once the funding was in place Cedar Park sent out the RFP (Request for Proposal) to approved skatepark design/build contractors. After the Parks Department and the 4B Board reviewed the companies the project was awarded to a local company SPA Skateparks partnered with designers Newline Skateparks from Vancouver, Canada.

The next step was designing the skatepark and this took place in two public input meetings. The local skaters worked with Newline Skateparks in coming up with a design which was different than anything other skatepark in the area. In the end, the design featured a flow basin street area and two bowls.

Skaters showed up from all over the Austin area to attend the public input meeting.

When the construction began the street area ended up costing more than predicted, so the city broke up the project into 2 phases to re-bid the bowls. The contract for the second phase was awarded to another local skatepark contractor Parthenon Custom Concrete.

Construction on the big bowl.

Both phases took about six months to build. The Grand Opening took place on June 26 2010 and skaters from all over Texas showed up to try out the new park. Since the park’s opening it is packed with skaters on a daily basis. Every week new skaters travel to the park from around the state. Another important feature added to the park was the lighting system, so skaters can ride until 10pm every night.

The street area on Grand Opening Day.

The mini bowl on Grand Opening Day.

Our overall goal for this park was to make it different from any other Texas skatepark. One of those things which set it apart from other parks was the use of colored concrete and skateable art features to give the park some aesthetic appeal. Another important factor was the location. The park is located in a family oriented park with plenty of visibility. Also there is not a fence around the skatepark which sometimes gives skateparks a prison like feel. On any given night you will find a heated skate session going down at the park, so when you are in the area come out and get you some.

Ryan Smith frontside grinding the deep end of the bowl.

Mike Kelly with a frontside rock on the vert wall.

Ronnie Flaatten with a lien to tail.

Jason Schmalle doing a nosepick on the vert wall.

Ronnie Flaatten blasting a backside air out of the deep end.

Words by Scott Thiltgen and skate photos by Jack Newkirk.