Workers with Artisan Skateparks are nearly finished building Morganton’s first skate park behind the Collett Street Recreation Center.

Parks and Recreation Director Rob Winkler said he is meeting with the contractors on Friday to make sure everything in the contract has been completed.

But although the park may look finished, Winkler said skaters should respect the park by not skating on it until the cement completely dries and until the city makes an announcement about its completion.  

Ryan Ford, the project manager, said the Artisan crew only has minimal work left to complete. After painting and caulking, the crew should be out of the park by early next week, he said.

“The park is going to look like it’s done, but there will still be some wet materials,” Ford said. “And we don’t want anybody skating on it while it’s still our job site.”

Mayor Ronnie Thompson said people from all around are excited about the park’s completion. He even spoke with a man from Boone who recently drove to Morganton just to see how the park was coming along.

“(The park) is something I’ve wanted to see in Morganton for probably the last 15 years,” Thompson said. “But I will not be on a board. I don’t need to spend any time in the emergency room.”

Winkler said he hasn’t discussed an official opening day or ribbon-cutting ceremony with other officials, but he thinks the park officially can be open by Thanksgiving.

Electrical workers are expected to come to the park next week to begin installing lighting, and some landscaping work still needs to be done, Winkler said. The meeting on Friday also could establish some tasks that still need to be completed, he said.

“We’re real excited, and we’re way ahead of schedule,” Winkler said. “Originally, we thought it would be Christmas.”

The city received a $15,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation in July to help pay for the remaining construction costs. Prior to that, Winkler said about $180,000 already had been allocated from multiple groups.

Once the park is open, a sign will be installed that notify skaters that kneepads, elbow bands and a helmet are required, according to City Council minutes from September.

City Manager Sally Sandy said at the meeting that people have voiced their concerns about the rules and are adamant about not wearing protective gear. However, City Attorney Louis Vinay said the rules are being put into place to rid the city of liability from any injury that might occur.

Morganton’s skate park is still set to be unmonitored, meaning no one will be in place to enforce the rules, Sandy said. 

Ryan Wilusz is a staff writer and can be reached at rwilusz@morganton.com or at 828-432-8941.

Get the daily newsletter in your inbox each morning with today's top stories.