KENSINGTON, Md.– Skateboarders aren’t exactly what many would be quick to call generous people concerned with the well-being of their communities.
In popular culture (and even the news) they tend to be portrayed as destructive hooligans with backpacks of spray paint and little regard for the neighborhoods they skate in.
But Dave and Syd don’t fit that mold.
Dave Engelhardt (left) and Syd Patterson (Right) are two skaters with a call to action– restoring their childhood skatepark.
These friends have personally renovated and built new obstacles in the park for the past couple years, starting with a small concrete ledge. After that ledge came a manual pad, several grind boxes and some homemade concrete quarterpipes and ramps.
In the picture above, you can see them place the final touches on the first half of the new pyramid skate obstacle at the K-Town skatepark in Kensington after several months of building frames and putting down cement.
Dave works as a substitute teacher and Syd is a construction worker– neither are being paid to do this, nor do they have an excess of cash on hand.
The majority of the supplies for the construction come from their own pockets, and all the hours of labor comes from their own free time.
K-Town is unique as it is the only D-I-Y skatepark in the area. It was first built by Matt Sickles over ten years ago, a Silver Spring local and now director of skateboarding at Woodward Summer Camp.
What made K-Town special was that it was built and supported by the community. But over the years, the community watched it crumble.
The top pictures to the left were taken by Yelp! user Thomas M in May of 2008, and the bottom right was taken in November of 2016.
Thomas M is the only person to leave a review of K-Town, and despite the alright review of ⅗ stars, his description of the park is negative.
Given the photos of the crumbling park, it’s clear to see why.
Wooden ramps are covered with graffiti and mold. The concrete in the ramps and ledges crumble. Trying to skate this unappealing and rough area is not only hard, but dangerous.
Syd and Dave recognized the wretched state of their childhood recreation area and soon adopted the idea of self-renovation.
They began their work.
Isaiah Sullivan, 16, comes to K-Town regularly, with its importance well in mind. As a dedicated member of the DMV skate scene he does the most he can to help out. Isaiah supports the renovation and knows a lot about this park’s importance, particularly its location.
“This is the only skatepark for the whole B-CC and Kensington area,” Isaiah remarks, explaining that this is a critical space for skaters living in these parts of Maryland. But what really makes this skatepark a staple for DMV skating is the number of sponsored skaters who have grown up skating this park, skaters like Rashad Murray.
Growing up in Baltimore, Rashad struggled to avoid parks where “annoying people might go up there to hassle you.”
Soon, this brought Rashad and his group of friends to K-Town, and the rest is history.
“I had a lot of people to be around that would motivate me to keep skating, so I would say that if I didn’t skate K-Town I probably wouldn’t be at the level I’m at or I wouldn’t be skateboarding,” says Murray, “It’s the thing that keeps me skating, really.”
To see updates or to donate, visit Dave and Syd’s instagram pages @dengles.media.conglomerate.llc and @sydgp, or visit their gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/ktown-skate-spot-improvements