South Bend's only indoor skate park struggling to keep doors open, needs community's help
SOUTH BEND, Ind.-- The Kitchen Skate Park has been helping area kids ignite their passion for BMX sports. Now they are at risk of closing their doors for good.
Local BMX professional Brett Banasiewicz opened The Kitchen BMX Skate Park in 2011.
“The skate park was paid for out of Brett’s pocket. He paid for everything in this place,” said Bill, Brett’s father.
Brett has ridden all over the world but didn’t have a place to practice back home in South Bend, so he opened the skate park with hopes of providing a local place for area kids to practice the sport he loves.
“Bring a big skate park to town would help other people expand their career in BMX, or skaters expand their career in skateboarding or rollerblading,” said Brett.
The Kitchen Skate Park Boasts over 33,333 square feet making it the biggest skate park in the Midwest.
That space comes with a hefty price tag of $4,500 a month. Membership dues and class fees help pay that but attendance has been low.
Brett said weather pushes people from outdoor to indoor skate parks, and they said these past months have been warm enough to keep potential members outside.
Now, with a deadline of six days to catch up on back payments, they need $20,000 from the community to keep the park’s doors open and their faithful members' dreams going.
“When I started out, I couldn’t even make it up a ramp, and now I’m at this stage where I'm doing back flips, all types of tricks. It’s helped me a lot,” said Tyres Yoder. He has been a member for 5 years.
Carol Osborne has two children who practice there daily.
“This is what Blake wants to do as a career, so we’re doing our commitment as much as we can to come here. This is the closest place to us. We travel an hour and a half everyday for him to come here. So it’ll mean a lot to keep this open,” said Osborne.
“It’s open for the community only. Everyone who works here is a volunteer. Nobody gets paid. We’re just trying to keep the park open,” said Bill.
“If it does go, there will be a lot of kids that want to do this as a career that will probably lose that opportunity,” Osborne said.
If the $20,000 goal is not met, The Kitchen Skate Park will have 31 days to relocate.