SPINDALE—Downtown Spindale will soon be home to a state-of-the-art skatepark and pump track, as city leaders continue to prioritize investment in outdoor and recreational activities.
A major leadership gift was given to the project by Meta (formerly Facebook), as part of a larger $300,000 donation to support improvements to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail.
“If it weren’t for Meta’s investment in our community, the skatepark just wouldn’t be possible right now,” said City Manager Scott Webber. “Their seed funding was the catalyst, the spark needed to take this project from concept to reality and led to additional funding partners coming to the table to bring the project to fruition.”
Meta officials are excited about the project.
“We are proud to support the Spindale Skatepark & Pump Track,” said Tara Tenorio, Regional Community Relations Development Manager at Meta. “This is an exciting upgrade to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail and will be great gear for our community. We are grateful to the team of local businesses, civic and government visionaries who have come together to create this unique experience that will be enjoyed by all of our neighbors in Rutherford County.
The new facility will be located at the intersection of East Main Street and Steward Street, on 1.6 acres of land donated by Spindale United Methodist Church (Spindale UMC). It is directly adjacent to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail.
“The town is grateful and grateful for the generosity of Spindale United Methodist Church,” said Spindale Mayor Mickey Bland. “This donation will benefit the city and its citizens and take advantage of the property’s proximity to the Rail Trail.”
Spindale UMC executives are excited to see the project moving forward.
“As longtime supporters of the revitalization of the town of Spindale, the people of Spindale UMC are extremely excited about the vast possibilities that a new skate park brings to the area,” said Reverend Eric Marshburn, pastor of the church. “As gleaned from the early church of antiquity (“Koinonia” in Greek), having a sense of community is woven into the very fabric of who we are as the people of God. So, by donating our front property to the Town of Spindale to be used as a safe connection point for people of all ages, Spindale UMC is honored with the opportunity to take faithful steps to expand the boundaries of God’s purest space (Koinonia) within our beloved community.
A pump track, designed for cyclists, is a looping sequence of rollers and berms. The name “pump track” comes from the pumping motion used by the rider’s upper and lower body as they ride down the track. The idea of a pump track is to use the pumping motion to maintain speed around the track without pedaling.
Officials believe Spindale Skatepark & Pump Track’s proximity to the Thermal Belt Rail Trail will attract new users to the trail.
Alex Gotherman with planning and design firm Boone-baed Destination by Design (DbD), presented plans for the new facility to Spindale Town Council at Monday’s meeting.
Webber told the meeting that this project will be a “win-win” and a great recreational asset.
“It will be a great link between the east and west sides of the city,” he added.
Don Cason, executive director of the Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority (TDA), is also a strong supporter of the project.
“From TDA, we are very excited about this. We are here to partner with you to make this work,” Cason said during the meeting.
Current financial donors to the project, in addition to Meta and Spindale UMC, include direct funds from the TDA and allocations from the TDA through the city and county government.
While Spindale Town Council agreed to the entire project at the meeting, they also agreed to contract with DbD to prepare a grant application to the NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). Webber noted that the state has triple the PARTF funding available to counties and municipalities for parks and recreation projects, compared to what it typically has.
Officials hope to obtain a grant from PARTF in the amount of approximately $400,000.
While DbD will manage the entire project, The American Ramp Company, a national skate park leader, will be responsible for the final design and construction of the skate park and pump track.
In addition to these recreational facilities, current plans include new washrooms near the rail trail, a shelter with picnic tables, and custom bike racks and benches.
The Spindale Skatepark & Pump Track initiative was originally introduced as part of the Thermal Belt Rail Path Improvement Master Plan, which was led by the TDA, Rutherford County and the municipal leaders of Rutherfordton, Spindale and Forest City.
The City of Spindale has secured approximately $820,000 for this project so far and will continue to seek additional grant opportunities throughout 2022 while engineering documents are prepared.
The final total cost of the project will range from $820,000 to perhaps $1.6 million, depending on what council agrees to include (with input from local residents) and available funding.
The inauguration of the project is scheduled for spring 2023.