HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — The McKinley Mall is looking to shred the local skateboard scene with plans to install an indoor skate park this spring.
The empty stores sit behind Bed, Bath and Beyond on the mall’s northern end. Food Court Skatepark owner Weldon Jones purchased two vacant stores, combining the floor plan to create the ultimate indoor skating park.
“You can be a day one skater or a pro. There’s going to be different aspects of the park that cater to everybody,” Jones said. “We did have an indoor skatepark that closed around 2014. Since then there hasn’t been a real indoor skatepark place that is open to the general public. It’s definitely something that’s a long time coming.”
The skate park will be the newest addition to the mall in Hamburg. Jones had the idea to build the park four years ago after realizing there was no where for skaters to go in the colder months. He hopes the park will become a destination for skaters across the country.
The park’s main goal is to develop the sport for people in Western New York.
“It just becomes addicting. The same way someone would get into any other sport or hobby,” TJ Guttuso said.
Jackson Carrig said he started skating when he was 4 years old. He loves the sport and never wants to stop.
“When I first learned to ride a skateboard I felt like in-sync with it. Like there was no other sport I’d do,” Carrig said.
His mother, Charity, says her entire family started skating when Jackson learned. She says it is important to recognize it as a sport.
“Having an indoor place really allows it to be their sport,” Carrig said. “Now Buffalo might be able to be like ‘Hey, we can compete too’ because we have this facility to train these athletes.”
Guttuso says he started skating when he was 8-years-old but stopped because there were few places to go. He hopes to inspire the next generation of skaters.
“Some people think ‘I don’t want to get into skateboarding because the experience, people are going to think I’m a poser, people are going to make fun of me’. That’s not really the case. As long as you’re trying to learn, that’s all that matters. Everyone just wants to have fun,” Guttuso added.
Food Court Skatepark will be a home for skaters to create and build community, according to Jones. They hope to roll out the park in April 2023.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.