Chris Duke / May 8th, 2014 / Spotlight
What is Oso Skatepark?

North Carolina is one of the Top 5 states in America for precipitation during the summer months. What does that mean? Well, if you’re a skater in North Carolina, that means you’re dealing with rain days during what many consider the vacation months.

Phillip Gripper and his friends not only deal with summer rain in their city of Charlotte, but they have no indoor park option to combat those rainy days either.

Well, they are doing something about it. Headed by Phil and his friend Brett Coppedge of OSO Boots, they are looking to raise money for an indoor park that everyone can enjoy when the weather is bad.

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Tell me about who is all involved, and how you came together for this cause.
Brett Coppedge and I are working on bringing Charlotte its first professional indoor skatepark facility. Charlotte has a huge population of youth that rollerblade, skateboard and bmx, and also professionals from each sport that live here. Like us, we manufacture Oso boots here. We’re locals, and we feel our park will provide a safe and positive atmosphere for professionals and a place for our local youth to come together and learn, train and better themselves overall. It would also be great for the city, bringing in revenue from tourism. We will be having pro contests from all three disciplines.

Are you working with any companies within those sports to help fund this park?
Not for funding, only for help getting the word out.

Have you thought about asking for companies to sponsor certain features, like parks have done in the past?
Yes. We are doing a “Sponsor-a-Ramp” program and will rent out banner space to help supplement funds.

Oh I see, good! Do you have any sponsors on board currently?
Currently, no. We have meetings set up for next week so hopefully we soon will.

Original ramp set up.

Beautiful. Now how accessible is the park for Charlotte residents? Got a nice, easy to find location?
Absolutely. The space we currently have is on North Tryon Street, which is the main street of Charlotte and it’s within a mile from “Uptown” which is what Charlotte calls its downtown. It’s on a bus route and on the path of the projected light rail which is our new above ground subway.

That’s great, some parks can be a real cluster fuck to find. When it comes to the concept of the park itself, can someone of any skill set ride it?
Our park is pro level, meaning the ramps are much bigger than the average city park designed by local “whoevers.” We will offer lessons so all skill levels will be able to ride.

How often does it really rain in Charlotte?
At least once a week.

So that must make for some pretty rough skate spots I suppose.
That and we are constantly losing skate spots.

Will this become your full-time job?
At first. Eventually we’ll have employees and will be able to grow.

How can people help and support beyond funding this project?
By sharing our story —

Dig it. Well thanks for your time Phil, and good luck!

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Be sure to visit the Oso Skatepark fundraiser at IndieGoGo to help support!

And if you were curious, here’s the latest look at the Oso boot.

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