by Ryan Felton
One of the organizers behind Detroit's bid for the X Games will soon launch an effort to convert an abandoned city park on Detroit's east side into a DIY skatepark.
Derrick Dykas, a resident of Detroit and lifelong skateboarder, says the effort to build a community-designed skate park in the city began last fall: Representatives from Red Bull approached him after seeing the response at the Brewster-Douglas Housing Projects for 2013's Go Skateboarding Day. The company had contributed funds to help construct portions of the skate park located near the housing projects, he says.
"So [Red Bull] wanted to do it on a larger scale," Dykas, 29, says. The company told him they wanted to help find another spot in the city "and help get you started."
Although the site isn't secured yet, Dykas says the park is located near the Coleman A. Young Community Center on Chene Street. For now, the plan would is to construct on the abandoned tennis courts of the park, almost 30,000 square feet of space. Project organizers would adopt the park and take over construction and maintenance, he says.
"For what we want to do, it's really an ideal situation," he says. "I think both parties will greatly benefit from it."
Dykas says organizers reached out to four local skateshops -- Refuge Skateshop in Dearborn, Chipps in Hamtramck, PLUSkateboarding in Farmington, and People Skate and Snowbord in Keego Harbor -- and asked what they wanted to see in the park.
"They submitted four unique [designs] that you don't really see at a lot of parks," he says.
Those designs will be on-hand at a fundraiser for the initiative this Friday at Third Street Bar in Detroit. Dykas says the funds will be spent on a list of $3,000 to $4,000 worth of equipment project organizers for the park's construction.
The event will include performances from Wolf Eyes, Nicky Stix and Blacker Magick -- people Dykas says he grew up skating with. "All of them are excited just to help out," he says. "They're all playing for free." And, if you're looking for something to do that night, it's free to attend.
"I feel like I'd rather have people come and donate, if they feel necessary, and really rely on the raffles and prizes that we have," Dykas says.
The fundraiser for the DIY park will take place Friday at 8 p.m. inside Third Street Bar at 701 W. Forest, Detroit. For more info, click here.