February 6, 2017
In a building where hundreds of workers churned out Famous Amos and Iced Animals cookies and snacks for nearly seven decades, local inline skaters, skateboarders, and BMX riders will give a former factory in the Belmont neighborhood a new lease on life. Starting in May, the former Kellogg’s factory on Louise Avenue will be known as Oso Skate Park. Phillip Gripper, Brett Coppedge, and Chris Hostetler are the locals behind the new skate park, and the trio has spent years working to make the facility a reality. The hard work behind establishing the park has been a group effort from the beginning.
Gripper and Coppedge used their savings to buy 10,000 feet of ramps from an old skate park in Hickory, and they organized a benefit show at Snug Harbor to help pay to transport the massive amount of materials to Charlotte. Since then, they’ve been searching high and low for a suitable space to install the ramps for the public to enjoy. Gripper noticed a sign on the building at 933 Louise Avenue, and real estate agent Nicole Frambach from The Keith Corporation quickly got him and his partners a tour of the building and connected them with the owners.
Gripper and Coppedge are anything but novices in the skating community; the two have skated for years, and have manufactured their own inline Oso skating boots since 2013. Amateurs and professionals alike will be able to take advantage of the pro-level skate park, and it will give everyone a refuge from the one thing that can spoil any session; rain. Oso’s indoor facility will allow locals to skate and ride for as long as they like without worrying about a sudden downpour. But for the men behind Oso, the most important aspect of the new park is building community. Gripper says the park will foster “positivity, creativity, unity, and learning” in a safe and controlled environment. Gripper added that Oso’s “sole purpose is to promote togetherness.”
Oso will offer different levels of membership. Annual memberships will be $365, a dollar a day if paid in monthly increments, or $300 for the year if payment is upfront. Classes and camps devoted to skateboarding, inline skating, and BMX, as well as art, music, and dance will also be offered.
Keep an eye out for updates on the development of the park, and keep early May circled on your calendar for the facility’s grand opening. Oso Skate Park promises to be a positive addition to the area, a place where kids and adults alike will be able to develop their skills, and connect with friends and neighbors.
Check out this rendering of the new Oso Skate Park