Tyler Skatepark Gains Statewide Fame

Even Saturday's cloudy skies couldn't keep skaters away from Noble Young Park in Tyler. Over a hundred skateboarders, roller bladers, and bikers come every weekend.

They love it because it's open, it's outdoors, and it's free.

"In Dallas, you go and pay maybe twelve bucks to skate," explains fifteen years-old Cody Stone. "You don't get your money for what it's worth. Coming up here, it's much better."

Stone and his friends drive down at least once a week from Grand Saline to come to the park. But Noble Young Park, opened in 1998, is starting to show its age.

"It's used," Cody admits. "People come and graffiti it up. The sheet metal they put on it seems to get kind of worn and torn in places and if you fall you could cut your leg up pretty bad."

Surprisingly, while other towns discourage skaters, the City of Tyler is glad to have them.

"We're excited about the park and the number of users that go out there," Tyler Parks and Recreation Director Roy Crouch says. "We know there's on any given weekend, we'll have 50, 60, 70 skateboarders. It's very important for us as a Parks and Rec Department to provide a service for them."

The city hopes to begin repairs next year, for the skaters, and the families that come to town every weekend. Dana Hilton drives her son at least once a month from Lufkin.

"The main reason we come is to skate," she says, "But he brings a change of clothes so we can go out to eat or stop by the mall or do something else."

The Henley family comes all the way from Mt. Pleasant to visit. Last week, three bikers came down from Austin and spent the weekend in town. The park has gained fame all over Texas for people who are just looking for somewhere to roll.

"We've been trying to get something like this in our little town for a while," Cody says, "But this is great to have this and come and skate."

The city knows if you repair it, they will come. And they'll bring tourism money as well.

Reid Kerr (rkerr@kltv.com) reporting.