RAMPS SKATEPARK: Indoor park in Swansea opening soon – but needs help
Ramps Skatepark is a name you might be familiar with if you follow James Jones. It was his local indoor spot, where he dialled in some of his extremely dialled riding, but then something changed.
Ramps now has a new location and some major challenges… Jonathan Evans hit us up to talk through what’s been happening and what will hopefully happen next.
Q&A with Jonathan Evans, Ramps Skatepark
– Tell us about the park. Where is it, what’s it all about?
Well, we are currently hoping to open in the seaside city of Swansea in Wales, however until the end of last year we were located in the small town of Llanelli for just over 7 years! Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances in the form of COVID, with the lockdowns in Wales making it very difficult to generate any cash flow, we were no longer able afford the overheads that came with the premises and we had no option but to close.
Luckily, someone in within the community in Swansea had offered us an irrefutable opportunity, a chance to replant our skatepark in a new area, and rebuild everything totally rent free until the doors are open! Not only was this warehouse an unbelievable discovery, it was also far more suited to house the type of skatepark we’ve always wanted. For example, our old warehouse had a large number of supporting pillars inside and it was very difficult to expand on any of the ramps or change the layout of the park, whereas this new premises has none at all and comes with the bonus of a taller roof!
It was a hard pill to swallow admitting defeat and walking away from a town that has given us so much over the years, we really feel like we became our own little community in Llanelli. If you know Ramps Skatepark and you ever visited us, you’d know it’s got a different vibe to any other skatepark in the UK, it was a second home to so many. That being said, the move has got us excited to turn the page into a new chapter, and we hope one day we get to share it with everyone and create that tight community again!
“Not only was this warehouse an unbelievable discovery, it was also far more suited to house the type of skatepark we’ve always wanted”
– How did you design it?
If I told you we had a solid plan, I’d be lying. We had a rough idea of what we wanted, Adam and Jon from Backyard carpentry have spent countless hours figuring out what would work best in the available space and honestly we couldn’t be happier with the way things have turned out. It’s crazy because the state that we entered the building, compared to now, you’d never have believed any of these ramps would fit. But here they are, almost ready to go!
– Looks tight but fun! How big is it?
The floor space is around 10,000 sq ft, but with the potential to expand in the future. Like I said earlier with the pillar and roof situation, we’ve been gifted with substantial room for us to play with in terms of the size of the ramps and the flow of the park in general. The largest quarter is 8.5ft tall, of course not including the monster 15ft+ vert wall after the box. We have the giant mini ramp, but our favourite feature has to be the box, it’s got 2 separate take offs, so you can either go to the moon right out the gate or just work your way up slowly. The big box is no joke but it’s a lot of fun!
“We’ve been gifted with substantial room for us to play with in terms of the size of the ramps and the flow of the park in general”
– James Jones likes it eh?
Well James has been a friend of ours for as long as we can remember, from G-Star jeans at the local to British Cycling in Tokyo. So to see him shred the park the way he does is an absolute treat, it’s always good to hear feedback from someone who rides at his level also. But yeah, so far so good from everyone that’s had a session here!
– What problems have you got at the moment?
This is where things get tricky, we’re currently an estimated 2 weeks away from the completion of the skatepark itself, meaning if all was well we could have the doors open and people using our facility in 2 weeks time. However, this isn’t the case, we applied for planning back in January this year and unfortunately, the change of use for the building was denied. We appealed the decision but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. So, we’re regrouping, getting a game plan together for our second appeal, and this time we think it’s necessary to bring the public into battle with us. To show them that this is not just a business, it’s a valuable asset to the community, it’s a safe place of expression and it’s the home for potential future professionals and athletes! Not to mention the massive positive impact places like this can have on a persons mental wellbeing. It would be a great shame to never have these doors open on the grounds of our city council not seeing and understanding the full potential benefits of an indoor skatepark.
“It would be a great shame to never have these doors open on the grounds of our city council not understanding the potential benefits of an indoor skatepark”
– What can people do to help / can people get involved?
We’re looking to make our second appeal in the coming weeks, this time hoping that our new angle turns the heads of the ones in charge of this decision. To do this we’ve set up a petition on change.org (link below) that people can sign to show their support, the more traction we can gain with this the better! Other than that just helping us raise our voice to the people that need to hear it, sharing our posts on social media helps massively!
Well it goes without saying that the ideal scenario for us would be to eventually open our doors and have people to come and shred our facility. We’re praying that this is all just a hurdle we need to get over before we see the finish line. From then on the goals for us are endless, who knows there could be a future Olympic champion right here under our noses and would never have known. We hope to see you all soon!
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