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Though the ground is still covered with dirt, construction on an all-weather skateboarding park in Baumholder, Germany, continues, with completion expected late this fall.
Though the ground is still covered with dirt, construction on an all-weather skateboarding park in Baumholder, Germany, continues, with completion expected late this fall. (Geoff Ziezulewicz / S&S)

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — Among the hilly confines of Wetzel Kaserne, a yawning awning will soon protect skateboarders from the elements.

While the massive skate park — that will feature an all-weather protective covering and indoor skate facilities as well — is still covered with dirt, the project is expected to be completed this autumn, said Bob Baumgardt, head of the garrison’s public works department.

While unable to provide an exact number, the skate park carries a price tag in the “middle six figures,” Baumgardt said this week. Since the Baumholder area doesn’t see a lot of optimal skate conditions, Baumgardt said a protective covering for the park was essential.

“It is important that they can skate more than the six weeks of good weather here,” he said.

The park is being built by German contractors and will feature the standard ramps, grind rails and half-pipes, Baumgardt said.

“If I named (the park’s features), I’d get it all wrong,” he said. “A lot of humps and bumps.”

The park was designed with the input of skaters as well, Baumgardt said.

“They brought in some of the top skateboard guys in Germany, and they made recommendations about how this can be done,” he said.

The seed of a Baumholder skate park was planted about five years ago, when the Public Works Department installed a grind rail that nobody really used, Baumgardt said. Skaters slide their boards along rails, something the kids call “grinding.”

“About five or six years ago, somebody bought a grinding rail,” he said, adding that it was soon decided that more skate resources were needed than that solitary metal rail. “We nailed it down to the asphalt and nobody went there. Go figure.”

While skateboarders were hard to find around the garrison this week, Baumholder kids, like their brethren in the States, tend to skate wherever they can, said Daniel Washington, a local youth sports and fitness director. So having a park makes sense.

“There was a demand for it,” he said. “Finally they’re putting it in place.”

The park has evolved over time from a straight-up outdoor facility, to one that will have skating inside and outside, said Manny Alvarado, a support officer with Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Baumholder.

“There were continuous requests on and off during the course of the years that a skate park was needed,” he said. “It’s steamrolling now and it’s becoming a reality.”

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