PRINCETON — Blacksburg’s new skate park is turning into Princeton skaters’ gain.

The Virginia city recently installed new, concrete features, which left Skateboards Plus owner Shane Ellison wondering what was planned for the ramps, quarter pipes and more that made the park a favorite among local skateboarders. When he posed that question to Blacksburg officials, they responded that there were no plans. The equipment was simply slated for disposal.

Already on a mission to revamp and re-ramp Princeton’s skatepark, Ellison set out to see if Princeton and Blacksburg could reach a deal that would allow the city to acquire the skatepark stunts and remake the Princeton Skate Park. After talks between Ellison, Blacksburg leaders, Princeton City Councilman Chad Caldwell and Princeton Recreation Center Director Amanda McCabe, the agreement was set last week.

Blacksburg agreed to give Princeton the equipment in its current condition, provided the city could get it here. Ellison pledged to arrange transportation and restore the equipment at his expense, and the city’s Finance and Administration Committee recommended that the full City Council accept the plan during a committee meeting last Wednesday.

City Council made the agreement official Monday night in a move that will bring more advanced obstacles and new faces to the Princeton park, Ellison said.

“This is very exciting, because we’ve been able to work together,” he said. “But, the really great thing is that we’re going to get an improved facility, and I think it’s going to help the kids that skate and the community.”

In all, the plan will add a box, a rail, a banked wall ride, a wedge/kicker, a pyramid with a flat/down rail and an up/flat/down hubba; and a large quarter pipe with a 4-foot quarter pipe inside and a 6-foot wall beside it.

McCabe also spoke during Monday’s meeting, expressing her appreciation to Ellison and Blacksburg.

“We are very excited about getting the new skatepark equipment from Blacksburg,” she said. “I think it’s going to be great. I think it’s really going to help the morale of the skateboarding community.”

City Manager Wayne Shumate and several City Council members also thanked Ellison and Caldwell for coordinating the equipment agreement.

Shumate said he thought it was a tremendous sign of cooperation that Ellison sought out the Blacksburg equipment and that the city was willing to give it away.

“It’s a good project ... It’s going to be a good project,” he said.

Mayor Dewey Russell called the plan a “momentous occasion,” particularly since finding harmony between skateboarders and community members has proven difficult in Princeton’s past.

“I want to thank you for taking the time out, for having the insight to find that equipment,” Russell told Ellison.

While Ellison pledged to repair the equipment and coordinate transportation, two pieces of the equipment proved too large to fit onto even a ton truck. Smith Services and Jerry Pedigo joined the effort, donating services and a driver to bring the pieces from Blacksburg to Princeton.

With transportation and repairs, Ellison estimated the improved Princeton Skatepark would be open in approximately two weeks.

— Contact Tammie Toler at

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