BMX riders have a two-week trial run to use the Gulfport Skate Park. If all goes well, the change could last indefinitely.
At the Jan. 18 Gulfport City Council meeting, City Manager Jim O’Reilly said the city will start a two-week trial period on Jan. 31. During the trial, both skateboarders and BMX riders can use the skate park.
Currently only skaters can officially use the park, located behind the Gulfport Recreation Center on Shore Boulevard South, but the skate park will welcome BMX Monday-Friday, from 3-6 p.m., during the two-week run. Skaters can use the park from 8:30 a.m.-sunset.
“We will videotape it to see if there are any issues,” O’Reilly told the council, adding: “I will have staff there also in case an issue were to arise.”
Before council appointed O’Reilly as city manager, he had an extensive career managing city recreation programs, most recently as Gulfport’s Leisure Services Director.
O’Reilly and staff want to look at how skateboarders and BMX riders interact at the skate park and if the park has enough space to accommodate both.
Mayor Sam Henderson and Vice Mayor April Thanos (Ward I) voiced support for the trial run.
Councilman Michael Fridovich (Ward IV) expressed less enthusiasm about the idea, saying the skate park didn’t have the room to accommodate both modes of recreation.
“So quite frankly, I think it’s a waste of time,” Fridovich said.
O’Reilly will report back city staff’s findings on skate park in February and could also bring a proposal to the council for installing lighting at the facility.