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Columbia County building BMX, skateboarding facilities

Posted: December 29, 2013 - 12:04am  |  Updated: January 8, 2014 - 9:24am
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Nick Motto, an avid skateboarder, is glad the county is building a high-end skate park at Blanchard Woods Park. Currently there are no skate parks in the county and skateboarders have a hard time finding street locations where they are welcome. Photo by Jim Blaylock
Nick Motto, an avid skateboarder, is glad the county is building a high-end skate park at Blanchard Woods Park. Currently there are no skate parks in the county and skateboarders have a hard time finding street locations where they are welcome. Photo by Jim Blaylock

 

Columbia County will soon become a hub for alternative sports.

County commissioners approved a $1.5 million bid Tuesday to construct a BMX track and skateboard park at Blanchard Woods Park in Evans.

“This is not your traditional park facility,” county Community and Leisure Services Division Director Barry Smith said. “It’s going to be very nice. It’s done right. We didn’t spare any funds for that.”

The new facilities will be built on nearly two acres behind the athletic fields.

The concrete skate area is designed by Pillar Design Studios, an Arizona-based company known for skate park designs.

Evans skateboarder Nick Motto said he was skeptical when he heard about the project because the ever-growing local skateboarding community has seen many that weren’t well done come and go.

“(It’s exciting) to us in the skateboarding world in Augusta,” he said, adding that the park would attract skaters from out of the area.

The closest skate parks are in Thomson, Dearing and south Augusta. The closest parks of the caliber of the one to be constructed are in Columbia and Atlanta, Motto said.

Motto, who is a software developer at Taxslayer.com, competed on an amateur skateboarding level for several years. He expects a lot of out-of-the-area interest in the park, especially with such an experienced skate- park designer on board.

“If it’s lit, that is going to be a dream come true,” Motto said. “This is going to be huge. ... I think it’s prime (location). It’s accessible off the interstate, which is a huge deal.”

Smith said he expects both of the new facilities to be an added attraction for both local and out-of-town users.

“It’s something different,” Smith said. “I think it’s going to be a well-received addition to the Columbia County park system. We’re looking forward to accommodating a whole new sector of users.”

Skateboarders aren’t the only ones excited about the upcoming construction.

The BMX track is being designed along with USA BMX to the organization’s standards to host sanctioned events.

“It’s got unimaginable possibilities,” said Mitch Moon, who is the track director for the Augusta BMX facility in Augusta.

The sport of BMX racing is one that is growing and very popular, Moon said. Blanchard Woods is a prime location for another track, Moon said.

Like Motto, Moon said he expects the new track to bring people from out of town, likely places like Lexington, S.C., and Greenville, S.C., which also have nice tracks.

“I think it’s something that is going to help Columbia County grow,” Moon said. “I think that it would be a great addition to Columbia County.

The track will include parking, drop-off area, staging and spectator areas and a scoring tower.

Both facilities will be lit, Smith said, adding that lighting will be contracted to Georgia Power Co.

Contracts and other project details will be finished up in January and he expects construction to start in February, Smith said. The project is expected to be completed in 120 days.

Smith said he expects both facilities to be open by the summer.

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