Fort Wayne Indoor Skatepark: kids gets chance to try newest Olympic sport

For Rich Hoppe and Dan Butler, the Fort Wayne Indoor Skatepark–7,000 square feet of indoor ramps, platforms and railings upon which anyone with two wheels or a board can practice jumps, tricks or routines–is truly a labor of love.

A not-for-profit organization, the skatepark relies heavily on fundraising to stay afloat –as well as the sweat of Hoppe and Butler, two 43-year-olds who have been a part of the local skateboarding and BMX scene since they were kids.

Opening again for its sixth season in the middle of this month, the skatepark is the only indoor facility of its kind in the area, providing a place for skateboarders and BMX riders to train 24/7 when the weather turns cold or the ground is too snowy.

Thirty years ago, nobody would’ve thought a place like the skatepark could ever exist. Now, it’s a sort of sanctuary for kids and teens who are immersed in the skater or BMX culture, a place where they can go to practice their craft safely and legally while meeting others who share their interests.

While there are dues to use the facility, Hoppe and Rich have been known to waive the fees for kids who cannot afford them, instead offering them access in exchange for work around the skatepark– like picking up trash, keeping it clean, etcetera.

“We try to be a voice for all these kids,” said Hoppe.

With the X-Games becoming regular programming on television and skateboarding and BMX becoming an Olympic sport in 2020, interest in both are increasing. There are more and more kids coming to the skatepark, more and more getting into the culture. Fort Wayne Indoor Skatepark, 3054 E. State Boulevard, 260.238.0398, thefortwayneindoor.com

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