At one point not too long ago, the skate park — just east of the City of Altus Gym on Katy Drive — was the place to be.
If children carried dreams of being the next Garrett Reynolds, Mat Hoffman or the late Dave Mirra, this is where they would find themselves.
And if they found themselves skateboarding and trying to become the next Bob Burnquist, Rodney Mullen or the legendary Tony Hawk, this is where they would go.
It was the meet-up place for bicyclists or “bikers,” boarders and everyone in between and it was a place where people could pick their poison and ride and practice their craft until their was no sun left to ride.
Over the last few years, it has lost some of its popularity.
One of the reasons is some of the people behind its construction have moved on. A lot of those people were the same ones who would frequent the park several times a week. They are also the same people who would organize large skate competitions and sometimes invite bands to come and play.
Some have accepted jobs that have taken them away from the sport they love and others have had families and have less time to spend on the board or bike. Whatever the reason, some of the originals who used to skate the park are gone.
And it is starting to show.
The park was constructed in 2000 after the City of Altus provided local skaters a place to build their park. For supplies, concrete was donated by local construction sites who had over-ordered for their jobs. Brian Nichols — who manages a landscaping company in Altus — was one of the key people who helped make the park come together and donated a lot of his own time and money into the park as well.
Just last August, an Eagle Scout named Kyle Miller organized and participated in a beautification project of Missile Park. Of the list of tasks he accomplished, one was adding paint to the skate park and covering the graffiti that makes parents feel like the park is unsafe.
Although the project really helped increase the appeal and appearance of the facility, the skate park is now in dire need of help of a different variety.
Just by driving by, anybody can see that the park has become overrun with weeds and grass in locations that make it difficult for any who want to come out and skate.
Most places in Altus forbid skateboarding on their property and now the only place where they can do it whenever and for however long they want, has fallen into disrepair.
It is sad for those who put so much time and effort into it so long ago.
Now, they look at the park and wonder what happened. For the longest time, it was their baby and as they had to let it go little by little because of family or work obligations. The torch was passed to the younger generation with the hope they would continue taking care of it. However, most of the younger generation that skate its concrete surface lack the means and funding to continue with the necessary upkeep and so now it sits at Missile Park, looking a lot like a shell of a its former self.
Skaters and bicyclists known as “bikers” still convene at the park and still take to the ramps and grind its rails, but it is no longer what it used to be and there are still some around who hope that changes.
Reach Ryan Lewis at 580-482-1221, ext. 2076.