All photos by Dave

Cutline 1: Gavin McFlanagan, Nederland, takes flight Friday at Orange’s new skate park in Sunset Park on 16th Street.
Cutline 2: Skateboarding at the new skate park on 16th Street Friday, Bryce Hebert of Forest Heights grinds on a rail.
Cutline 3: The new Orange skateboard park on 16th Street was a great place to try new tricks Friday afternoon.
Cutline 4: Skateboarder Gavin McFlanagan tries out a new ramp at the Orange Skate Park, which opened last week.
Cutline 5: It didn’t take long for word to get out about the new Orange Skateboard Park., which opened last Thursday. Skaters came from near and far Friday to give it a try.
Cutline 6: A skater, center, prepares to “drop in” to the course at the Orange Skate Park on 16th Street, which opened Thursday.
Cutline 8: Allen McFarland of Beaumont “ollies” up to the grind rail Friday at Orange’s new skate park in Sunset Park on 16th Street.

Early reviews strong for skate park

By Dave Rogers
For The Record

Foster parent Denice Cox was running errands Friday when she saw the new City of Orange Skate Park on 16th Street.
A few hours later, she was back with her six boys, all students at Little Cypress-Mauriceville High.
“I saw this and I said, ‘Oh my God, I’ve got to bring my kids out here,’” she said. “It’s our family night and this sure beats a paid movie.”
The new attraction is a 50-foot by 90-foot concrete pad topped by quarter pipes on each end with 12 other features, including bank ramps, grind rails and grind boxes for tricks.
About two dozen people were taking their turns at the ramps, rails and boxes around dinner time Friday, including some riding bikes.
“I think it’s great. It’s got anything that any skater would need,” said Bryce Hebert of Forest Heights, near Deweyville, who like Cox and her teens, were testing it out for the first time Friday afternoon.
“There’s only one [other] skate park in the area,” Allen McFarland of Beaumont reminded, referring to downtown Beaumont’s Beautiful Mountain Skate Park.
Prior to this week, the closest skate parks to the Beaumont one were in Houston and Sulphur, La.
“Any time there’s something new in the area, you’ve got to check it out,” McFarland said.
The City of Orange paid for the project thanks to a $130,000 community development block grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department.
Workers from the Dallas company that sold the Sk8Parks skate park equipment to the city for about $85,000 handled last week’s installation.
McFarland made the trip to Orange Friday with a group of friends from Beaumont and Mid-Jefferson County.
“Word got out on Facebook,” said Gavin McFlanagan of Nederland.
“I think it’s nice they did this for the city. I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there who don’t have much to do.”
Cox already had visions of more additions at Sunset Park.
“Why not a BMX course?” she said. “They’d love to ride their bikes. They could have meets. It’s endless to what they could do.”
What the park did for Cox’s foster kids Friday was fairly amazing.
“They had never done skating,” she said. “They thought they’d come try. And they’re teaching each other out here.”