Village officials agree that Canal Winchester's skate park is a success.

Village officials agree that Canal Winchester's skate park is a success.

The nearly 4,000-square-foot skate park, located in front of Hanners Park, 590 Groveport Road, opened in March 2010.

"I think we have had very few problems out there," Councilwoman Bobbie Mershon said. "It is because of the kids out there. They are a good group of kids that take time to make sure that it is cleaned up."

Mershon said she believes the skate park has been a success based on the number of visitors.

"On all the warm days - any day it's possible to get out - that place is usually crowded," she said. "I think it meets the needs of the village youth give(s) them something to do."

In October 2008, Fred Demkowicz and Andrew Tapalanski, then Canal Winchester High School students, approached village council about opening a skate park. Village officials were willing to consider it, but were concerned about financing. Eventually, $100,000 was allocated for the project.

The landscaping for the park was designed by Gary Bumpas, who chaired the Street Tree Advisory Board, and several local businesses provided in-kind donations to get the park built.

Fairfield County Sheriff's Sgt. Kirk C. Kern, agreed that problems at the skate park have been minimal.

"It is going well," he said. "We have had a few minor problems, but nothing major."

When the park opened last year, there were some issues with curfew violations, and with rocks and garbage cans being thrown, Kern said, but the issues quickly subsided.

"We told them, 'this is your skate park,'" he said. "We tried to get them to take care of it themselves once it opened and once it got rolling, they pretty much did. It is getting utilized quite a lot."

Canal Winchester public works director Matt Peoples said reaction to the skate park has been positive. He agreed that the skateboarders are helping care for the park.

"There is a group of kids who have taken it upon themselves to keep the area in good condition," he said. "They bring brooms and clean up the trash that some of the other kids may leave behind from time to time."

The skate park has been getting a lot of use, especially on nice days, Peoples said, mainly by teens but also by some adults and parents with smaller kids.

"There have been some bumps and bruises but nothing major," he said.

Tiera Suggs, a 24-year-old Reynoldsburg resident, said she uses the skate park frequently. She lived in Canal Winchester in 2009 and 2010 after growing up in the community, where she attended middle school and most of high school.

"I actually do videography work, do edits of lots of the roller-bladers and skateboarders in the area," she said. "I do that, plus also skate."

The park gets a lot of use, Suggs said, even when the weather isn't that nice.

"Even in the winter, they are shoveling out the snow just so they can skate, when its 28 degrees or less," she said.

Canal Winchester maintains the equipment a lot better than some other communities, Suggs said. While there may be trash or graffiti in other skate parks, the Canal Winchester park is void of such issues, she said.

"There isn't any in Canal Winchester," she said.

"The people there want to use it," she said of the facility. "They begged for it to be there. A lot of kids don't have cars, so they skate to the park or ride their bikes there."

Suggs' only concern with the skate park is its size. She said it could be bigger but she knows expansion isn't cheap. She said a larger park would mean more youth could use the park and stay out of trouble.

Peoples said Canal Winchester doesn't have any plans to expand the park at this point.