Design work to begin for the skatepark at Rawl’s Creek

Jesse Clayton from 5th Pocket Skateparks met with Larry Watts from Hybrid Engineering to begin design work for the skatepark at Rawl’s Creek. Jesse Clayton has been involved in the project for months now and has built several skateparks in South Carolina including Myrtle Beach, Florence, and Spartanburg. Jesse visited the Youth Zone after-school program in Irmo and is excited to build this park for the kids in this community. Jesse comes from humble roots and personally knows the benefit of skateboarding.

The Tony Hawk Foundation’s approach to advocating for and funding skateparks in communities across the U.S. is contingent on youth advocacy. Skateboarders approach the Foundation with an application to build a skate park in their community and become responsible for brokering support from community leaders and business advocates. During the process, the youth learn how to advocate for their needs in formal and informal settings.

The Friarsgate Skatepark Committee was awarded a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation known as The Skatepark Project(TSP). Throughout the past year, Andre Taylor (TSP) worked with the committee to help navigate the process of building a concrete skatepark and addressing community needs.

The nonprofit initiative Beyond The Board was created to connect an after-school program with skateboarding. ULSA and their YouthZone program agreed to let us provide skateboarding as part of their program. They offered the space needed to develop, explore, practice, and advance the skills of the individuals skateboarding. Skateboarding helps to empower children to take charge of their own lives, to set goals, evaluate options, make choices and then work to achieve those. The sport of skateboarding made its Olympic debut in 2020 and helped change the image of skaters to be acceptable role models. The now respected sport has gained acceptance in our community by providing safe outdoor recreation and motivation that keeps our youth enrolled in a crucial after-school program focused on improving outcomes and opportunities for the next generation.

In the U.S., an articulated curriculum for STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) education utilizing skateboarding is currently available and a variety of agencies administer skate-based programming with varying frequencies, intensities, goals, and results. It’s proven that skateboarding and academic-focused after-school programs are changing lives.

The Friarsgate Skatepark Committee continues to gain locally and nationally and is almost halfway to its funding goal with help from the Town of Irmo. Awarded a non-profit grant for $80,000 it still needs another $100,000 to meet its goal.

In the photo- Jesse Clayton owner of 5th Pocket Skateparks and Larry Watts of Hybrid Engineering discuss plans for the future Irmo skatepark located off Friarsgate Blvd.