Wheels are turning

Jayson Arnold puts finishing touches Friday on the paint at Kids Zone in the former Maroon Lanes bowling center on Hi Lane in preparation for opening day on Monday. The business’ owners are seeking public input on a soon-to-be opened indoor and outdoor skateboard facility to be included in the entertainment center.

A new, privately owned recreation center that caters to children and families also plans to open both indoor and outdoor skateboard facilities.

The complex, known as KidZone, is located in the former Maroon Lanes bowling center on Hi Lane off Big Hill Avenue.

KidZone will open for business on Monday, according to owners Mike Cope and Wayne Patel. It is designed for children up to age 12, they said.

It features large inflatable climbing, sliding and jumping structures as well as arcade games. Rooms are set aside for birthday parties, and it also has a café for general use by patrons.

“We also want the kids who like to ride skateboards to come by on Monday, or as soon as possible, and tell us what kind of skateboard structures they would like us to install,” Cope said. “This is a chance for them to help design the kind of structures that would be most fun for them.”

Cope can be reached at 353-5676.

The skateboard structures will be constructed of wood, which Cope says he believes are safer than the concrete structures typically found in public skateboard parks.

Cope said he had gone to downtown Richmond and talked to skateboarders who continue to skate down the paved, sloping landscape there, despite prohibitions by the city and county governments, as well as property owners.

The efforts of some local business leaders to raise money and persuade the city of Richmond to create a free, public skateboard park has foundered on finding a location that is both accessible and acceptable to its neighbors. Funding also has been an issue.

Cope and Patel said they hope their facility can serve as an alternative.

Although a $5 entry fee may be a prohibitive charge for those who like to ride their skateboards every day, Cope said no one who cannot afford the charge will be turned away.

Bill Robinson can be reached at  brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.


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