COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Skateboarder Tony Hawk was in Columbus on Tuesday to visit the site of a skatepark his father designed more than 30 years ago.
Hawk visited the skatepark at Dodge Park in Franklinton on Tuesday, he shared in a Facebook post. His father, Frank, was hired by the city in the late 1980s to turn an unsafe ditch into a skatepark with bowls ranging in depth from three to six feet.
“The park remained after he passed away in 1995, and is still there now,” Hawk wrote. “Regrettably, I had never been there … until today. This one’s for you, dad.”
At the time, skateboarding had been outlawed in most public places in Columbus, according to contemporary newspaper reports. In 1988, the city commissioned the park to provide a designated, safe facility for teens to skate.
Hawk’s father was a retired California engineer and had established himself as a “competent ramp builder,” Hawk wrote, and he “was excited and honored to lend his expertise to a concrete project.”
Reports said the park was the only design east of the Mississippi River, with most skateparks only found in states like California. The design cost $97,000 and consists of three concrete bowls set 3, 4 and 6 feet deep.
It opened in October 1990, and safety initially was a concern for city leaders, who required a $10 membership fee for skaters to use the park. Teens under 18 had to provide a written waiver of liability from a parent or guardian, reports said. Skaters were also required to wear helmets, knee and elbow pads and wrist guards.
Today, the area remains open but is unsupervised. A notice from the city says to skate at your own risk, and in his Facebook post, Hawk encouraged the city to resurface or update the facility, even as he expressed his gratitude.
“To the city of Columbus: thank you for helping to solidify my father’s legacy,” said Hawk.