TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- "Trenton has been a street skateboarding destination for decades. But if it rains, when it snows, there's no way to ride a skateboard during the winter," said Jake McNichol. "What we do is we give people an opportunity to do that."
McNichol is the Founder and Executive Director of Freedom Skate Park, a non-profit which brings pop-up skate events to all ages in Trenton. Partnering with the city's Department of Recreation, Natural Resources & Culture, they carved out a space to skate indoors at the Roebling Wire Works building. This is especially important when the cold weather and short days snuff out opportunities to skate.
"Trenton has this history as a manufacturing hub. That's what this building used to be used for," said McNichol. "We want to grow and cultivate a creative economy in Trenton and bring young people to city, bring vibrancy to the city."
Volunteers with the non-profit want to put all hands on deck to bring in more skaters.
"I just hope to get the youth away from the bad things in the street and to bring them something more positive like skating," said volunteer Zion Richmond.
Richmond, who grew up in Trenton, remembers how vital skateboarding was to his personal growth.
"A lot of my friends were in the streets, but I found a friend that skates and he introduced me to skateboarding," he said. "So, I grabbed onto it and when I grabbed onto it, I just never stopped."
Thanks to their hard work, skating has become more accessible than ever to children in the surrounding area. Parents are wheeling their kids over to the indoor park on South Clinton Avenue to get a grip on the sport.
"It's a great opportunity for the kids to kind of get out and just kind of experience different walks of life and all kinds of stuff," said Landon Fraley, who came to skate with his two sons. "I got back into it, from being a kid, doing it when I was a kid, because of them. So it's just a great opportunity to spend time together."
The Freedom Skate Park indoor facility will be open from now until February on every Saturday from noon to 6:00pm. The events are free of charge and volunteers may provide free helmets and skateboards to participants.
While the 2021-2022 program is officially on the rails, McNichol hopes to ramp up the effort to include indoor skating with no expiration date.
"Our ultimate goal is to have a year-round community hub where we can have these events all the time instead of just during the winter," he said.
To learn more about Freedom Skate Park, visit their website.
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