Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Local skate park builds community


Tucked into Tuscaloosa lies a place for UA students and staff to socialize — a place to decompress, yet a place for a taste of risk. Wheels whirl, spin and roll while handlebars twist and turn. The scent of rubber and fresh air combine for a recreational escape from exams and papers — this is Palmore Skate Park.

Opened to the public on June 19, 2015, the skate park attracts students, community members and professors, including UA geology professor and skater of 36 years, Geoff Tick.

“I go close to twice a week, if time allows,” Tick said. “Skate parks like Palmore offer a great outlet for kids and adults in a central, safe location that’s easily accessible for the non-traditional sport enthusiast. Additionally, one of the best aspects about skateboarding is that skateboarders are generally one of the most inclusive and welcoming groups to engage with, regardless of ability, background, age, gender and so on.”

This outlet has proven successful all the way in Tuscaloosa for the Santa Cruz native, who grew up accustomed to skateboarding throughout the California community. 

“The skate park has greatly improved my quality of life within the Tuscaloosa community,” Tick said. “As an activity, skateboarding provides a valuable release of both creative and physical energy, which helps maintain a necessary life balance. With limited areas deemed acceptable to skateboard in town, the skate park offers a place that can generally be accessed any time, a place to hone technical skills, a place to meet up and skate with other people, and ultimately have fun doing something I love to do.”

Upon his arrival in Tuscaloosa, the Palmore Skate Park immediately introduced Tick to a community of friends, welcoming him to the city alongside many other individuals who have found a home and family within the park.

“When I first moved to Tuscaloosa in 2004, I quickly met Barry Frith, Shane Fair, Alex Saldaña, Justin Pruden, Dallas Vining, Justin Kelly and other local skaters that were welcoming to join any skate session, from the streets and road trips to backyard ramps and pools,” Tick said. “This established a great network of friends and we still skateboard together on a fairly regular basis to this day.”

Barry Frith is similarly thankful for everything the park and its diverse crowd has offered Tuscaloosa, as it provides a safe escape from the hustle and bustle of a college community. 

“The coolest thing is the multigenerational aspect of everyone skateboarding together,” Frith said. “I like to think that it’s the brother-and-sisterhood of skateboarding and escape from the daily grind of life, to have only one thing to be responsible for. It’s a great character builder as well, seeing as you definitely learn how to pick yourself up after you fall.”

Individuals like Frith are extremely thankful for all the memories made and friendships developed within the realm of the park, and he hopes the park similarly influences the lives of many students and community members as well.

“There are way too many good times out there I could get into, but as a father, the time spent skateboarding with my son will always be the best memories of the skateparks,” Frith said. 

Seeing as Frith played a key role in updating community members on the progress of the park’s development, as well as acting as design lead, local skaters like Tick are extremely thankful for his efforts during and beyond the construction process, in tandem with his influence on many young lives throughout the community. 

“Barry and others have been an outstanding positive force in this community, and serve as excellent role models for other younger skateboarders or people just learning and enjoying the sport,” Tick said.

Tick hopes the Tuscaloosa community will continue to note the influence of parks such as Paramore, and perhaps may influence construction of similar environments throughout the city. 

“Cities like Tuscaloosa need more spots such as these where positive influences exist that encourage physical and creative activities,” Tick said. “In my experience, I think in some cases, the public may not be aware of the exceptional agility and athleticism that skateboarding requires, and therefore, these parks can showcase these talents to spectators as well.”

Tick believes mere location could make all the difference in emphasizing this showcase of talents, especially among such a diverse university of students and professors, each with unique gifts to share with the Tuscaloosa community. 

“I’m disappointed when such valuable resources like skate parks are relegated to some distant location that doesn’t serve the participants or the community to the best of its ability,” Tick said. “Parks built within community centers, shared side-by-side along river walks or esplanades, or other traditional sport complexes and parks can add great benefit to the community by showcasing the unique talents and camaraderie of skateboarders, while simultaneously offering a friendly environment that others can participate in, whom otherwise may not have considered or been aware of.”

While the park has influenced the lives of many community members, students and professors alike, it doesn’t seem to have any plans of holding back the handlebars anytime soon. Fearless and bold, skaters like Tick and Frith roll on, pushing off the curb and into the Tuscaloosa community, welcoming any and all interested in giving the park a spin.

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