SkatePark gets rolling
Nick Loomis/QUAD-CITY TIMES BMX riders pause to watch a fellow rider do a trick at the opening of Davenport's new concrete SkatePark in Centennial Park on Saturday afternoon.

The City of Davenport’s new $1 million park for skateboarders, BMX bikers and in-line skaters officially opened Saturday with music, speeches and a ribbon-cutting in which participants in the sports raced over the concrete maze of ledges, ramps and bowls to shred the ribbon.

Among those testing the 33,000-square-foot facility just south of the intersection of East River Drive and Warren Street and directly west of the Quad-Cities Sports Center was City Administrator Craig Malin, himself an accomplished skateboarder.

“It’s a simple piece of equipment, a board with four wheels, but it is a passport to a lifetime of adventure,” said Malin, 44, a skateboard enthusiast since he was a child.

Davenport SkatePark is the first project in the Active Recreation Corridor of the city’s riverfront Centennial Park and was included in the RiverVision plan adopted in October 2004. When completed next summer, the corridor will have two lighted basketball courts as well as landscaping and raised areas for spectators to enjoy views of the park as well as the Mississippi River.

Mayor Ed Winborn said that skateboard and BMX bike enthusiasts were actively involved in the park’s planning and were behind it from the beginning.

“A lot of young people stuck with their dream, and here we are today,” he said.

Hundreds of people converged on the wind-swept park to attend the grand opening or watch skateboarders and BMX bikers race up ramps, bound up steps, spin in the air and negotiate such obstacles as a 10-foot-deep bowl. While the scene might have appeared chaotic to the uninitiated, Rick Moliterno, the owner of Standard Byke Co. and Goodtimes Superstore in Davenport, said participants have a system for using the park in an organized and structured manner.

The park is open free to the public from dawn until dusk. Once the lighting is installed, it will open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Designed by SITE Design Group Inc., Tempe, Ariz., and built by general contractor C.H. Langman & Son Inc., Rock Island, the park is intended to serve all levels of extreme sports enthusiasts, from novices to the most advanced, said Moliterno, who operated the Rampage Indoor Skateboard Park in Davenport for more than 16 years.

He expects the park, which he said equals the finest in the nation, will do much to raise the profile of skateboarding and BMX biking, popular sports for years in the Quad-Cities but little known outside the core of enthusiasts.

Others said the park will give extreme sports enthusiasts a place to perfect their skills other than structures that have steps, ledges and other features that appeal to them.

“It is often said that if your city does not have a skate park, the city becomes one,” Malin said.

John Willard can be contacted at (563) 393-2314 or

on the web

A video from Saturday’s SkatePark opening will soon be featured at the Multimedia section of our Web site at That video can be seen later this week.

What’s Next

Davenport SkatePark, East River Drive and Warren Street, will host a “Halloween Costume Skate/BMX Shred Fest” from 2 p.m. until dusk Oct. 28.

The festivities will include prizes from many bike and skate companies, music and a massive shredding. Small contests will be held throughout the day. The event is sponsored by Goodtimes Superstore and Standard Byke Co., Davenport.

For more information, call (563) 326-5498 or visit www.goodtimessuperstore.