NEW ORLEANS -- City leaders joined skaters to celebrate the opening of New Orleans first "official" public skate park on Saturday. The Gentilly location is where an illegal park popped up two years ago. After months of planning between city officials and the skater community, the Parisite Skate Park was born.
For years the underpass at I-610 and Paris Avenue at Pleasure Street attracted illegal thrill seekers at a makeshift and illegal . Fast forward to today and the concrete playground has been transformed into the Crescent City's very first official skate park.
"Today was really cementing the peace pact between the skate boarders and City Hall. And it looks like it's going pretty well," said Skylar Fein with Transitional Spaces.
City leaders joined the skating community to mark the milestone on Saturday afternoon.
"We got a great space where all of these kids can come out and enjoy themselves. Hopefully this won't be last one. We can use this as a prototype to give kids great things to do throughout the city," said Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
"For a long time I just had to have a grind rail or a ramp in my front yard. That's all we got to do," said skater Jesse Kline.
Now the landscape has changed. The 18,000 square-foot park space includes cast-in-place concrete ramps, wood ramps, and rails. They're all designed to cater to skateboards, roller skates, rollerblades, non-motorized scooters and BMX bikes.
Skaters like Christopher Rainey hope the park will serve as a refuge for the city's youth.
"It's something that's very beautiful. They're making something that brings together so many people especially with all the bad stuff that goes on here," said Rainey.
The skate park was built thanks to donations from Spohn Ranch Skate parks and Tulane City Center. It will be maintained by NORDC.
The park is open to the public Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. To learn more about the park and its rules CLICK HERE.