10/20/2014

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Outdoors

Nation's largest outdoor covered skatepark opens Friday in Eugene

Nation's largest outdoor covered skatepark opens Friday in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. - The dream is now reality.

The largest covered outdoor skatepark in the nation opens Friday in Eugene under the Washington-Jefferson Bridge.

"We're elated. We're so excited," said Emily Proudfoot with the City of Eugene. "It's been a lot of hardwork, especially over the last 5 years."

PHOTOS FROM OPENING DAY

Friday at 3 p.m., the doors to WJ Skatepark and Urban Plaza open to the public.

The 23,000 square foot skatepark is literally decades in the making.

"This idea has been around since about 1990," Proudfoot said.

The push in recent years to make the idea into a reality came from the local skateboarding community. The City and local Rotarians got behind the idea of transforming a park blighted by drugs and violence into a destination for families.

"They just had a lot of energy around building skateparks in Eugene," Proudfoot said. "We've had community support, raised over $300,000 in kind and cash donations from the community; we got a matching grant from the state," Proudfoot said.

The all-ages park is also open to bikes and rollerblades.

"Our biggest thing is we just want to draw people here to have a good time," Proudfoot said.

The WJ Skatepark has an Instagram account with over 1,100 followers.

"I don't think Parks has really ever had a thousand followers for anything that someone's really excited about," Proudfoot said.

After the park opens Friday, regular hours will be from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

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