Underneath Interstate 110, wheels are turning fast. People are reluctant to use their brakes. Crashes are accepted. It's not a driver’s nightmare. The Blake Doyle Skatepark is a boarders dream.
The Blake Doyle Skatepark is named after the Pensacola skater who died in 2015. Local millennials have rallied around his memory. The park’s name is a soulful reminder of the flame of youth. Blake’s memory has bolstered the entire project during a long development journey.
The park is a cornerstone of the Hollice T. Williams Greenway. The revitalized space is a phoenix rising from the ashes. ‘Project Greenway’ will connect neighborhoods and emphasize outdoor fun. The substantial buzz around the skatepark has many residents eager for the next steps to begin.
“You can feel the neighborhood growing, people are coming out and staying out,” says Julie Sterbough, who owns a home on 6th avenue.
Lifelong resident Jon Shell assembled the team and led the design process for the park. He says that the large and open design of the skatepark makes it a unique venue. At 25,000 square feet, the park is suited for all types of skateboards, with an emphasis on speed. The layout also accommodates the most important person at the skatepark: the newcomer. Young people in the area are encouraged to try skateboarding here in the beginner areas.
Even though the park opened on May 2, the first major event was “Opening Day” on June 10th, a transformative event designed to represent the diversity of Pensacola. Hosting GOATS like Andrew Reynolds at “Opening Day” is one way that Jon Shell plans to put the skatepark on the map. Doing it in a way that brings Pensacola together under its historic interstate dividing line, might just guarantee it.
Check out the Blake Doyle Skatepark under Interstate 110 in Pensacola along North Hayne Street. The park is open from 10am to 10pm and there is no admission. Remember to grab your helmet. See you out there!
Story By: John Sjoberg
Photo: Anthony Potts: WUWF Public Media