July 7th, 2020

Indoor skatepark closing its doors

By MO CRANKER on April 22, 2019.

NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER
c Colten Steinkey grinds a rail at the Summit Indoor Skate Park on North Railway Street. The building will be closing for skaters and dancers at the end of the month.

mcranker@medicinehatnews.com@MHNmocranker

Medicine Hat’s indoor skate park is closing its doors.

The Summit, which opened four years ago, will be closing permanently as a skate facility at the end of the month.

“We were on a graduated lease and at the beginning we were able to make it work with donations and user fees,” said Summit president Josh Swanson. “As expenses increased over the years and our revenue didn’t increase, it just became too much to manage a 5,500 square foot space.

“We got to the point where we needed to make a change. The landlords are letting the dancers and skaters finish up their semesters and then we’re moving everything out.”

This is the second skate park that has closed down in Medicine Hat over the years, with Central closing before the Summit existed.

“Central was a similar idea but just a lot larger and it also housed an indoor skate park and a bunch of other stuff,” said Swanson. “That one was funded by a company in town but one year we had a record-breaking snowfall and the roof ended up collapsing.

“It’s definitely hard to lose another place for people to skate in the city.”

Swanson says the local skaters will be without a place to do their thing in the cold months.

“Coming into the summer here we’ll be able to survive, but the fall and winter will be really tough if we don’t have a place to skate,” he said. “From the standpoint of skateboarding and scootering, we have really long winters.

“If this is a way for a kid to express themselves or a main form of exercise, not being able to do it for six months really sucks.”

Colten Steinkey is a member of the Medicine Hat Skateboard Association and he says losing the Summit is a big blow to skaters in the city.

“It’s disappointing to know that the Summit is closing,” he said. “We do a lot of skating and programs in the winter and now we just won’t be able to do those things.

“Skating there is something that a lot of the older guys did during the winter – we use it to bond and to spend time together. It’s important for us to look at that building and appreciate what we had – hopefully something else will come along.”

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