The city of Ocoee, Fla., has opened a new Action Sports Park — a skate park — within Vandergrift Central Park to attract city residents. With a grand opening ceremony on June 28, the Ocoee Action Sports Park has received a positive response.
“Action sports have become very popular, and the city wanted to give families a place to skate or ride bikes,” said Mark Johnson, the city of Ocoee Parks and Recreation director. “The reaction (to the Ocoee Action Sports Park) has been tremendous, with nothing but positive feedback.”
According to Johnson, the city wanted to offer activities to families in Vandergrift Central Park that weren’t normal recreational sports. Additionally, Ocoee citizens had been asking for a skate park.
“The citizens said they wanted a skate park in the past. My staff and I met and came up with expectations of the park, and I placed the skate park into the budget,” Johnson said.
To kick-start the process, Johnson said he began speaking with different skate park construction companies, as well as researching online. In the end, the city chose the American Ramp Company to build the Ocoee Action Sports Park. From the first meeting with the construction company to completion, the entire project took between 12 and 14 months. Construction of the actual park was completed in approximately nine weeks.
The entire process went smoothly, with Johnson stating, “We told them exactly what we wanted, and what we thought it should look like. They would take our input and come back with incredible designs.”
The park is funded through the city of Ocoee General Fund Capital. A general fund capital in a city budget usually designates funds earmarked for capital expenditures within the city’s general fund. The general fund serves as the primary operational fund for a municipality, addressing routine expenses like public safety, education, and administrative costs. In contrast, capital expenditures involve investments in long-term assets or infrastructure projects aimed at improving the city’s overall quality of life.
Currently, there aren’t specific programs tied to the Action Sports Park, but in the future, they may be added, Johnson said.
To make use of the park, the city does require a waiver for patrons to sign. The city also requires the use of ANSI-approved helmets. Ocoee has also provided a set of rules for residents to follow, to ensure public safety.
“The Action Sports Park Etiquette is a set of rules universally followed to avoid chaos and prevent injuries. It’s an informal code of conduct that is widely accepted and adopted by park users that minimizes heated discussions and, in some cases, prevents physical aggression,” the city of Ocoee website, ocoee.org, states.
Overall, Vandergrift Park, in which the Action Sports Park is located, offers different recreational activities for residents, such as football, baseball, basketball and other amenities.
According to the city website, the Action Sports Park is a 10,000-square-foot area. The park features street-style elements, such as ramps, stairs, rails, a grind box, a wall ride, as well as a competition-level pump track. There is an additional 5,000 square feet that would allow for future growth.
A pump track within a skate park is a circuit, featuring rollers, berms and other elements, which are created for cyclists, skateboarders, roller-bladers and scooter enthusiasts. Comprising a continuous loop of banked turns and features, the track enables riders to utilize body movements (pumping) to build momentum and navigate without the need for pedaling or pushing. Tailored to offer an enjoyable and challenging experience, pump tracks cater to riders of diverse skill levels, fostering skill enhancement, fitness and community involvement.
The Action Sports Park is part of a larger plan to improve Vandergrift Central Park in Ocoee.
“The park will get an almost $300,000 expansion in 2024,” Johnson stated. “We budgeted for phase three, and it was approved by the commission. We will be adding to our current skate park and pump track.” The total price of the project was approximately $528,000. The Ocoee Action Sports Park is currently the only skate park and pump track in the area. Ocoee is a city located in Orange County, Fla., within the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. Ocoee is approximately 12 miles northwest of downtown Orlando.